Passengers from the mega ship Norwegian Joy disembark in May 2019 at Ketchikan’s Berth 3 downtown. (KRBD photo by Leila Kheiry)

Three firms submitted proposals to run Ketchikan’s cruise ship docks. That’s a topic that’s likely to dominate Thursday’s Ketchikan City Council meeting. 

City gets three proposals for port redevelopment

Assistant city manager Lacey Simpson says the proposals to redevelop Ketchikan’s city-owned cruise ship docks remain sealed. That means no one outside the firms themselves have seen the meat of the proposals yet. And they’ll remain that way until the council votes to unseal them.

But here’s what we do know — who’s bidding: Survey Point Holdings, SSA Marine and Global Ports Holdings.

Survey Point Holdings may be a familiar name to many. The Ketchikan-based firm is headed up by Bob Berto. It holds a 55% stake in the Ketchikan Dock Company, which owns Berth IV and leases it to the city. Survey Point is also in a joint venture with cruise line Carnival to run Skagway’s main cruise port and the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. 

SSA Marine is a Seattle-based stevedoring company with operations all over the world. It’s a subsidiary of Carrix, Inc., which also owns a 50 percent stake in Survey Point Holdings, according to state records.

Global Ports Holding is a U.K.-based company that operates more than a dozen cruise ship ports worldwide. Most of those are in Europe. It’s a majority-owned by a Turkish investment company, Global Investment Holdings. 

The council could direct that the bids be opened when it meets Thursday. Or they might not. It’s at their discretion what to do with the three proposals.

Ketchikan’s City Council in September decided a select few individuals would be the first to review the bids, including the mayor, two Council members and senior city staff.

But the Council may reconsider that approach. It’s scheduled to discuss opening the screening committee to include the full City Council Thursday.

Purchase of former Bar Harbor Restaurant

Also on Thursday’s agenda, the Council will again be asked to decide the future of the former Bar Harbor Restaurant property that it’s eyeing for harborside parking. City staff say the owner has reduced the asking price from $395,000 to $350,000.

But the property’s price has proven to be a sticking point. A third-party appraisal put the ex-restaurant’s value at $300,000. And the city estimates it’ll cost another $15,000 or so to remove asbestos before the building is torn down.

Public works officials estimate demolition will cost $50,000. Preliminary estimates put the cost of turning it into a parking lot at more than $2 million.

The Council will be asked whether it would like to purchase the property for $350,000.

Pedestrian safety campaign

In other business, the Council will discuss a proposed pedestrian safety campaign after a resident raised concerns during a late November City Council meeting.

City staff estimate that a six-month radio and social media campaign would cost between $9,000 and $17,000, including production costs and advertising expenses. They say the city conducted a similar advertising effort aimed at reducing distracted driving in 2018 that cost a little more than $16,000.

Filling the vacant Council seat

Also Thursday, the Council is set to interview candidates who applied for the vacant seat left by the late Lew Williams III. 

Those are Michelle O’Brien, Riley Gass, Spencer Strassburg, Michael Briggs and George Tipton and Emily Chapel. You can read their applications here.

The City Council will interview candidates for the vacant seat starting at 6 p.m. Thursday in Ketchikan’s City Council chambers. The regular meetings kicks off at 7 p.m.