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John Beery: Bringing the Marina Up a Notch
By Mary Swift Swan (Courtesy of Bay Crossings)
With a crew of family, friends, and associates, John Beery has brought boating in the Bay Area up a notch, again. His latest effort to improve boating in the Bay can be seen in the Dry Stack Marina, a large, new building located across from Jack London Square. It’s his way of bringing the best of Florida boating to California. After six years of hard work, this new marina represents the first of several new businesses developed by Beery’s Marina Development Company.
The Dry Stack Marina is modeled after the best facilities in Florida, where boating is king in recreational sports. This marina is the only fully indoor, full-service stacking marina in California. The new facility has the capacity to house 350 boats, including vessels up to 40 feet, and/or weighing up to 20,000 pounds. Instead of spending time cleaning and servicing their boats, Dry Stack Marina tenants need only make a simple phone call before they’re ready to go boating on the Bay. Boats will be pulled from their dry indoor berths, serviced, wiped clean, and launched before being moved to the newly renovated marina in front of the facility, just waiting for their owners’ arrival. After boating, owners can return their vessels to the dock and drop off the keys. The boat is again serviced, rinsed with fresh water, and then returned to its dry indoor berth. This style of marina actually saves time and money, making a boating lifestyle a true pleasure.
Berthing in the Dry Stack Marina may cost more than in-the-water berthing monthly fees, but there are savings that more than make up the differences. Some of those savings include: reduced hull and topsides oxidation; less sun exposure means longer lasting canvas tops and covers; no toxic bottom paint (better for owner, boat, and environment); reduced salt water contact = reduced salt water corrosion; reduced electrolysis from unattended charging systems; wood trim and exterior veneers last longer; varnished bright work has extended life; and no diver costs or expensive annual or semi-annual haul-outs. These are serious savings for vessel owners. The vessel is also being maintained professionally, so mechanical, electrical, and fuel systems, instrumentation, 12V battery and AC systems are checked regularly by professional maintenance staff. The net result of keeping a vessel fully indoors when not in use is reduced ownership costs and a higher resale value.
Alameda’s Mariner’s Square remains the home to Chevy’s Fresh Mex Restaurant, Pasta Pelican, and Commodore Dining Cruises–three ways to enjoy a meal by or on the water. The Water Taxi for the Estuary is also located there. The guest docks in front of Chevy’s and Pasta Pelican have all undergone a substantial update. The yacht brokerage building has been remodeled and now showcases a few of John’s paintings. A new Aegis Facility is due to open this year, and the old carriage house/restaurant that was located between Pasta Pelican and Chevy’s will be replaced.
When the dust of construction settles in Mariner’s Square, an entirely new marina is going to be built in the turning basin, between Mariner’s Square and the Alameda Ferry Docks, right next to Bay Ship and Yachts. The new marina is designed to accommodate private yachts over 100 feet. Warehouses east of Rosenblum Wine Cellars also will be remodeled to provide services and storage for large vessel boat owners and yacht managers. John Beery has repeatedly proven that if he builds it, they will come.
When John Beery was asked about the history of Mariner’s Square during an interview for Bay Crossings, he said, “I bought the Mariner’s Square property from Texaco in 1971 when I was looking for a place to build a marina for my business, John Beery Yacht Sales. At the time, I was told the property was not for sale; it was also not in use. After some inquiries, I finally got the 7.5 acres of Alameda waterfront for $525,000. I did not have enough money so I put a group of friends together with myself as the majority owner and bought the property. We were able to build it out with the help of a great banker. We built the two restaurants, the Pelican and Chevy’s, the marina plus offices for John Beery Yacht Sales. Later, I was able to purchase 8 acres between the tunnels, and then built the Mariner’s Square Athletic Club and the brick office buildings on the other side of the tunnel. It was a great help that my mother and father were in construction and able to help develop both pieces of land.
“I feel pretty lucky. If it did turn out well, we were lucky, and if it didn’t turn out well, we worked hard enough so that it did. Sometimes it was tough, but we survived. Waterfront property has grown and will grow tremendously (in value) because there is so little of it. Another part to that is the amount of work and the time it takes to get new construction permitted for development. The first time it cost $90,000 to permit and build everything, including the marina. This time it cost well over $100,000 just for permitting and design, and it is getting worse.” John Beery is an innovator with courage, optimism, and the foresight of a successful businessman. One of his admirers said, “He doesn’t give up when he knows an idea can work. In the process to redevelop his waterfront property, he hit many roadblocks from new regulations. There was one series of highly frustrating hoops required by the City of Alameda’s new policies and regulatory steps. John drove an entire truck load of manure to the City center and dumped it on the steps of Alameda’s City Hall. John invited all the local press to witness the event to ensure no one missed his message. He is a man of high spirit and great determination.” All that has all been cleaned up and construction for the remodel of Mariner’s Square is proceeding on schedule.