The Alaska Railroad has begun the search for a developer to replace or refurbish the cruise ship facilities at the head of Resurrection Bay. The project partner would also step in as operator, subject to any agreement ultimately reached between the two parties.
The railroad will hold interviews with interested parties in December, according to the request for qualifications. The railroad will then invite a small handful of applicants to submit more detailed proposals.
The project would see construction in October 2021 with completion anticipated in December 2023, according to a timeline available at the railroad website. The present timeline contemplates twenty weeks of operation in the summers of 2022 and 2023.
The partner will be required to “avoid interruption of cruise and rail passenger traffic between May and September during construction,” according to the project documents.
The Alaska Railroad did not respond to voicemail.
Among the assets to be replaced are the railroad’s cruise ship dock and the Dale R. Lindsey Alaska Railroad Intermodal Terminal, colloquially known as the cruise ship terminal. The dock is over a half-century old, and has “experienced significant corrosion” since it was built in 1966, according to the request for qualifications.
The railroad’s expansion plan calls for a floating dock to replace the pile-supported, concrete-decked 1966 dock, but the project documents indicate that the developer will not necessarily be required to fulfill this ambition.
The terminal is an enclosed space of 26,555 square feet that sees routine use for both cruise activities and local gatherings. It is the customary location of the Seward Music and Arts Festival, and has been used in recent years for other events such as the Public Safety Ball.
The railroad is making a significant portion of its Seward holdings available for lease to the prospective operator, including segments both north and south of the Port Avenue entrance to the railroad’s freight facilities.
The area encompasses both the existing cruise facilities as well as the defunct coal loading infrastructure once operated by Usibelli. That operation shuttered in 2016.