Rockland North End waterfront site may be alternative for cruise ship passengers

By Stephen Betts | Aug 19, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts Schooner Wharf Partners LLC said it has been in contact with representatives of the cruise ship industry about using its waterfront property for tendering passengers from cruise ships.

Rockland — An owner of a large undeveloped waterfront property in Rockland's North End said the site could be used as an alternative to the city's public landing to drop off and pick up passengers from cruise ships.

Andy Arey said Saturday, Aug. 18, that the owners of Schooner Wharf Partners LLC have been contacted by representatives of the cruise ship industry about that possibility.

Arey said that while the City Council can limit how many people come over the public landing, they cannot bar a cruise ship from anchoring in Rockland harbor. The ships could then send smaller tender vessels to the privately owned parcel.

The parcel is about 6 acres located between North End Shipyard and SteelPro. The property extends to Main Street where U.S. Cellular lease its offices. Owners include local residents Arey, Peter Giustra and Bruce Leiter, and Harry Ano of South Carolina.

"We were contacted by the cruise ship industry," Arey said, which occurred a few years ago. "It was not something on our radar."

The property is large enough for tour buses and taxis, he said.

The owners commissioned an engineering study, which was completed for creating a place to handle large numbers of passengers. Arey pointed out that the dock is a large one and the lot is one of the largest undeveloped waterfront parcels in Rockland.

Arey said he understands the concerns that some people have about large cruise ships, but he said it seems mainly to be about the congestion at the Public Landing. He said this would be avoided if the Schooner Wharf property were developed for cruise ship passengers.

There are no agreements and any deal could take a long time.

"The wheels of the cruise ship industry move slow," Arey said.

Arey has used the lot for nearly 30 years. His initial involvement was for a place to unload logs from his island logging operation.

Schooner Wharf purchased the former Seapro property in 1991, although some of the owners of that group have changed over the years. The site has deep-water berthing and is adjacent to a channel.

The city held a ceremony at the site in 1991 to mark the development of the property for potential marine use. Parts of the property are leased to various businesses, including a local petroleum company and neighboring SteelPro, Arey said.

Comments (10)
Posted by: Joe Patten | Aug 22, 2018 13:12


Posted by: Joe Patten | Aug 22, 2018 13:10

FYI, Ms Anderson, these are the revenue producing businesses at the North End waterfront: North End Marine, Ocean Pusuits Marina, Prock Marine Company, SteelPro, J&J Lobster, Journey's End Marina North, O'Hara Lobster Bait, Schooner Boyd N Shepard, Schooner Heritage, Schooner American Eagle, Johanson Boatworks Yacht Charters, plus an oil distribution company. They do not need "cleaning up", nor does our neighborhood. Please don't try to turn us into the South End.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Aug 20, 2018 23:06

So Amy when you speak about the "throngs of tourists looking for cheap trinkets" would you be referring to the throngs brought into town by the blues festival and Lobster festival ?  Both these events bring in hundreds of people cluttering up our Main street.  You're right we need to find more ways to eliminate these BAD people from our nice city streets.  Perhaps a moratorium on marijauna dispensories or Festivals would help.  We must stop this ugly march of business into our community .  We must find a way to direct only the RIGHT people onto our Main street. Perhaps we could encourage more art galleries ?

Posted by: Amy Files | Aug 20, 2018 12:06

The concerns about large cruise ships are not about just congestion at the Public Wharf -- it's about having our downtown completely overrun by throngs of tourists looking for cheap trinkets -- crowds that put off land-based tourists who spend more money and invest in our downtown inns and restaurants. Crowds that begin to push Rockland towards a Bar Harbor experience -- where shops don't stay open year-round because they cater to these seasonal tourists. And it's about impact on our harbor's health, our fishermen's gear, and more...

Posted by: Bill Packard | Aug 19, 2018 19:33

While this would seem like positive news, the City of Rockland has made it clear that they don't want cruise ships, so I won't be surprised if they are new zoning rules or other Council Orders to halt this.  And Ed's comment about SeaPro is right on.

Posted by: Cynthia Mary Anderson | Aug 19, 2018 16:28

Sounds like a great opportunity to clean up the north end of town along the waterfront.  I don't think there is revenue coming in from this location, but I don't know that to be fact.  I would love to see the same attention given to the north end, as was the south end.  That is so beautiful now, and draws many people there.  How nice it would be to have another "port" to bring in tourists and revenue to our city.  I would love to see it happen.


Posted by: Gerald A Weinand | Aug 19, 2018 14:20

This simply move would spur other development on Camden Street, and help reinvigorate the long planned Harbor Trail as well.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Aug 19, 2018 10:14

Progress marches on despite Rockland City council's zeal to stop it.  A smart business can always choose another path if the one they want is blocked.  Like marijuana dispensaries.  I read that the state of Colorado deposited an additional $70 million last year, double that of achohol tax.  Business is also booming in California and Washington state.  No problems reported, yet we continue to "just say NO" while the business passes us by and goes elsewhere.  Rockland taxpayers brace yourselves, looks like the city council has no interest in bringing new revenues into town.  Congratulations cruise ship industry for thinking outside the box.  Let's hope the pot retailers will do the same. Thomaston needs more business.

Posted by: Ed Glaser | Aug 19, 2018 09:26

Oh, wouldn't that be a form of sweet justice. That's the site of the old Seapro - and it is the closing of that  old fish meal plant and its attendant odors (and harbor pollution) that has led to the "re-birth" of Rockland.

Posted by: Sumner Kinney | Aug 19, 2018 09:14

What a great idea!  Don't you just love capitalism?


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