Alameda Marina

Part one
Members of the City Council and interested community members braved strong winds and torrential downpours to get a first-hand look at what the future holds for the city’s northern waterfront. The caravan-style tour wended its way to Alameda Marina, Encinal Terminal, Alameda Landing and North Housing at Estuary Park.  

Bill Poland is the majority owner of Pacific Shops Inc. (PSI) that leases the land from the city where the Alameda Marina stands. He is moving forward with his plans to redevelop the site. 

According to Poland, the city “specifically designated (the marina) for mixed-use redevelopment and as a multifamily housing site to fulfill Alameda’s Housing Element commitments.” Not everyone agrees with Poland’s interpretation of “redevelopment.” Some fear that redevelopment could spell the end for all the marina-oriented businesses at the site. 

On April 4, the city’s Historical Advisory Board (HAB) held a public hearing to consider a certificate of approval to allow Pacific Shops, Inc. to demolish 24 buildings “within the Alameda Marina Historic District.” According to the city, the demolition work would “meet the objectives of the Alameda Marina Master Plan.” 


Svendsen’s Boat Works recently announced that it will move to Richmond on Jan. 1, 2018. Svendsen’s will join Bay Marine Boatworks at its Richmond facility, 310 Cutting Blvd. 

Bay Marine is owned by Bay Maritime, which acquired all divisions of Svendsen’s, including Svendsen’s Marine Distributing, Svendsen’s Rigging Shop and Svendsen’s Metal Works last January (“North Shore Maritime Businesses to Consolidate,” Dec. 6, 2016). Bay Maritime is also the parent company of Alameda’s Bay Ship & Yacht.


There is gross misinformation circulating about the status of a 3-ton crane located on the East Lot of Alameda Marina. As the Marina’s Harbormaster, I wanted to clear up any confusion and provide a current, accurate assessment of the situation. 

I first want to emphasize that Alameda Marina has a near-perfect safety record with cranes. Safety of our tenants, boaters and the community is our primary goal. As such, this led to the decommissioning of our 2-ton crane late last year and why we will not attempt an irresponsible “quick fix” for the 3-ton crane.


Consistent with Bay West and Bill Poland’s plans to destroy the Alameda Marina and replace it with hundreds of units of housing, he’s pulling another fast one. Apparently the last of the three hoists used to launch dry-stored boats has broken. The timing, immediately before the second-largest event of the sailing year, is rather suspicious. 


The maritime industry has thrived at the site of today’s Alameda Marina for more than 100 years now. In 1916 Walter Tibbitts teamed up with J.D. Barnes and his sons James and Daniel to form Barnes and Tibbitts Shipbuilding & Drydock Company. They opened offices at 1 Drumm St. in San Francisco and set up shop on the Alameda side of the Oakland Estuary between Grand and Chestnut streets next to the Alaska Packers. 

There has been recent interest about what’s going on at Alameda Marina. As one of the owners of the property, I invite you to join the discussion about plans to revitalize the underutilized and degrading marina, provide greater public access to the waterfront, and ultimately create an engaged and accessible waterfront for all Alamedans.

I think that it’s important to get the word out that one of Alameda’s most recognized locations is in danger of being bulldozed and replaced by high-density townhomes and condominiums. I’m talking about the Alameda Marina.
With changes in zoning implemented in 2012, a large part of the waterfront in Alameda that faces the Estuary was re-zoned from “light industrial” to “mixed use.” “Mixed use” allows retail, residential, light industrial and commercial properties. Since around 1965, the Alameda Marina has been a recreational centerpiece of the Northern Waterfront.