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Brooklyn Basin Rises on the Oakland Waterfront

The only constant in life is change. We continue to chronicle the evolving San Francisco Bay and California waterfront as space for the maritime trades and the sailing community gets squeezed into spaces between condo developments. While looking at photos sent in by Joerg Bashir of the Oakland Sunday Brunch series, we noted the ongoing construction of the enormous Brooklyn Basin project in Oakland.

Olson 30 Brooklin Basin
Michel Berndt’s Olson 30, Flying Fish, makes her way past Brooklyn Basin.
© 2022 Joerg Bashir

Unlike so many new waterfront developments showing sailboats off the decks in the sales materials, Brooklyn Basin is actually building a marina along with its development, so adding to the Bay Area’s marine facilities rather than subtracting. As part of this large waterfront development, the new marina will be located along the eastern shore of the Estuary.

Brooklin Basin - Joerg Bashir
Two Harbor 20s (we mistakenly said Alerion) run down the Estuary before the rising development.
© 2022 Joerg Bashir

In the midst of all this development, Fifth Avenue Marina remains one holdout maintaining a connection to the past. Harbormaster Bud Brown, who’s been managing the place for almost 20 years, says they’re holding on just fine with the funky, unique community that makes up the 100-slip marina and its adjoining artist and maker community. Neighbors Brooklyn Basin and Fifth Avenue Marina provide a sharp contrast to the waterfront changes underway, with Fifth Avenue Marina demonstrating the character of the waterfront lifestyle of the past and Brooklyn Basin the glistening developments of the future.

Brooklin Basin
The aerial view of Brooklyn Basin shows where the marina will live in the current deteriorated Clinton Basin on the Oakland shore. Fifth Avenue Marina is the one to the left between the two towers.
© 2022 City of Oakland

The project plans to have about 3700 living units, plus retail and a 350-slip marina in and around the old Clinton Basin. The entire project covers 64 acres, of which 32 acres are park/open space. The SFYIMBY online real estate newsletter wrote a story with a more comprehensive view of the entire Brooklyn Basin development.

Clinton Basin, Oakland
This is the old Clinton Basin not long ago. It will, at some point, be home to 350 new marina slips. In the background is Fifth Avenue Marina, which used to have its own marine railway and was also home to Seabreeze Boatyard in the ’80s.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

While this project is actually adding facilities to the Bay, it is across the Estuary from Alameda Marina, which used to be a thriving hub of marine businesses but is now becoming all condos. The Alameda Marina development plans called for a boatyard tenant but, to date, none has been found. The Sausalito Working Waterfront is working hard to prevent the space available for the maritime trades along the Sausalito waterfront from shrinking further. The pressure on waterfront space for the maritime trades and access to sailing continues to grow, though we’re happy to see one project that includes new space for sailing.

Brooklyn Basin sailing
There’s still plenty of sailing at the edge of the Oakland shores.
© 2022 Joerg Bashir

2 Comments

  1. Don Ahrens 2 months ago

    The second Joerg Bashir photo is of two Harbor 20s, not Alerion 20s.

    • John Arndt 2 months ago

      Right you are – we know better but missed in haste. We’ll correct that. Appreciate the ‘heads up.’

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