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Developers offer new vision for East Mooring Basin in Astoria

Floating homes and a cruise ship terminal
By Edward Stratton

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 17, 2018 6:37PM

A private development group could help reinvigorate the East Mooring Basin, which has largely sat empty except for a small collection of commercial vessels and sea lions that haul out on docks during fish runs.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

A private development group could help reinvigorate the East Mooring Basin, which has largely sat empty except for a small collection of commercial vessels and sea lions that haul out on docks during fish runs.

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A development group led by Floyd Holcom, the owner of Pier 39, is behind a project near the Port of Astoria’s East Mooring Basin that could involve floating homes, a cruise ship terminal and a promenade.

Fishermens Wharf - Astoria LLC, which will present the project to the Port Commission on Tuesday, seeks a 50-year lease of the mooring basin, with multiple extension options.

Nik Sernande, a San Francisco-based architect who has worked with Holcom on the redevelopment of Pier 39, is the managing director of the company, which formed last year. Holcom, who could not immediately be reached for comment, is a member of the company.

Sernande recently sent a letter to the Port Commission describing a public-private partnership to reinvigorate the marina, which is largely empty except for some commercial boats and sea lions that haul out during fish runs.

The project could boost the local economy while preserving the rich history, character and core values of Astoria, Sernande wrote.

The company is proposing floating, single-family homes similar to those found in Sausalito, California, in front of Comfort Suites, just west of the East Mooring Basin causeway with connecting docks to the Astoria Riverwalk, Sernande said. The homes would be no more than 20 feet tall from the water level, hopefully allaying any concerns about blocking river views for nearby residents, he said.

The company is also looking to expand moorage at the East Mooring Basin, which was originally designed for 1,000 slips, and to potentially create a cruise ship terminal along the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers breakwater.

The causeway to the breakwater has fallen into disrepair. The Port has estimated it will cost $4 million to rehabilitate the roadway, and has looked at potential public-private partnerships to provide funding and spur development.

“That breakwater can easily accommodate one or two cruise ships,” Sernande said. “That could be a really nice facility there as a terminal to accept cruise ships (and) shuttle customers around Astoria.”

The development of homes and a cruise ship terminal would also require enhancing the waterfront with more dock connections, lighting and security, Sernande said.

Jim Knight, the Port’s executive director, said Tuesday’s presentation will provide a rollout of what Fishermens Wharf is planning.

“Floyd is really the motivating person behind this, has been working on it for the last several years,” he said.

The East Mooring Basin is subject to building and height restrictions in the Civic Greenway portion of Astoria’s Riverfront Vision Plan. The Port can get exceptions to the restrictions if the agency presents a master plan that is approved by the City Council.

Knight sees the company’s proposal as a potential shot in the arm for the Port, which lacks the money to develop the area around the East Mooring Basin.

“This might even be the end of the sea lions,” he said.



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