Alameda Magazine: Alameda Ferry Center Is Full Steam Ahead, December 3, 2018
If you join the Bay Trail at the Encinal boat ramp and follow the popular path west toward the USS Hornet, you’ll notice that the Water Emergency Transit Authority, or WETA, has finished building its new four-story central operations and maintenance facility at the corner of West Hornet Avenue and Ferry Point Street. The ribbon-cutting for the facility isn’t scheduled until mid-December, but in late October, crews were already hard at work on the regional agency’s fleet of ferries, which now berth at the 12-slip dock that’s connected to WETA’s new Alameda facility.
WETA spokesperson Thomas Hall said crews show up at Alameda Point in the morning to prep and fuel the ferries. “And some come back for a midday break, after the commute,” he said, noting that the warehouse at the new facility is stocked with tiny parts. “It’s good to have spares, and this is a garage guy’s dream.”
Debbie Potter, the city of Alameda’s base reuse and redevelopment director, said Alameda is “thrilled” with the outcome of the project, which was the first development at Alameda Point, after the Navy left in 1997. “This was the first new construction out at the base,” Potter said.
Yet despite WETA’s decision to relocate its entire fleet to Alameda Point, you still can’t catch a ferry from the new facility. Hall noted that WETA plans to build a new terminal at Seaplane Lagoon, which is a stone’s throw from away, by 2020. For years, the fate of the lagoon terminal hung in the balance, as the city struggled to find an acceptable redeveloper for the base plan. Some of that uncertainty ended in March 2018, when the council amended its agreement with Alameda Point Partners, clearing the path for the first phase of a 68-acre “gateway” project at the point, which includes a new terminal. And recently WETA committed $2 million to help get funding for the Seaplane Lagoon terminal over the finish line.