Marina Begins Work on Redevelopment

Dennis Evanosky    Alameda Marina, LLC, has begun Phase I of its project to transform the marina. Demolition of the first building to make way for “The Launch,” — a 368-unit apartment project that will include 49 affordable units — got underway last week.

With a unanimous vote in the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 10, 2018, the City Council approved Alameda Marina, LLC’s, plans to transform Alameda’s northern waterfront. Last Friday, the marina demolished its first building to implement part of those plans — making way  for “The Launch,” 368-unit apartment project that will include 49 affordable units. The marina expects to complete “The “Launch” mid-summer 2022. 

The makeover at the marina will include upgrades to a facility whose history dates to 1916. Alameda Marina, LLC, has plans to improve existing maritime and marina facilities and public access to the facility that began life when Walter Tibbitts teamed up with J.D. Barnes and his sons James and Daniel to form Barnes and Tibbetts Shipbuilding & Drydock Company.  

The property changed hands from the Barnes and Tibbitts families to General Engineering who operated the shipyard during World War II. The new owners built Golden Gate ferries for the Southern Pacific Railroad and gunboats for the Coast Guard. In addition, the company built Aloe-class net-laying ships, Auk-class minesweepers and Admiral-class minesweepers for the Navy. 

General Engineering sold the land to the Loyola University Foundation for $7.5 million but remained in operation there until the end of 1947. About that time, the Navy purchased 12.5 acres of the property from Loyola, comprising the shoreline between Grand and Willow streets. 
In 1952 George and Thomas Plant leased the yard from the Navy and used it as a dry dock and for ship repair. Two years later Moore Drydock moved in and built ferry boats for the Coronado-San Diego, Calif., run.  

In 1959 the Navy declared the yard as surplus property. By then the City of Alameda owned 12 acres of adjacent real estate.  When the Navy left, the city became the owner of 20 additional acres.  Three years later, Pacific Shops, Inc. leased the property from the city and sowed the seeds for the Alameda Marina. In 1966, the City of Alameda reclaimed the western edge of the old shipyard. Alameda Municipal Power’s headquarters occupy this site today. That same year Svend Svendsen moved his business onto the property. 

In 2006, the Svendsen family and the Bill and Mary Poland Family Trust purchased Pacific Shops, Inc. Six years later, the city renewed Pacific Shops’ lease for through 2037. Pacific Shops announced its intention to develop the site. In 2015, Pacific Shops hired Bay West Development Group to draw up plans for a mixed-use and multi-family redevelopment of Alameda Marina. In July 2018, the City Council approved the plans that Alameda Marina is implementing today. 

Looking to the future, Alameda Marina, LLC, states that it has designs “for a modern, clean environment for maritime businesses and innovators.” The marina further promises that the site will include “a full-service mixed-use community with amenities, such as dining and entertainment, public open space and access to water activities.” Once completed, the marina will boast hundreds of new housing units, a commercial maritime core, a new seawall and a modern dockyard with space for a potential boatyard.