She’s years past her prime and has been stashed in Tacoma’s Hylebos waterway since 2004, but the historic Kalakala ferry could be yours for only a dollar – and an agreement to restore her to something resembling her 1930s art deco glory.
Owner Steve Rodrigues recently reached out on the ferry’s website asking for a partnership to help in the restoration process. He told King 5 news that he lost his lease and has until Jan. 1 to move.
He is offering to sell shares in the venture to private investors to pay for a proposed $49.5 million overhaul and business plan. Here’s the pitch:
She has a new hull design with a shipyard to build it. She has a great potential private waterfront property site along I5 corridor. She has a State work permit for some exterior and all interior works. She has a site master plan that will assure the Kalakala, “World’s first Streamline Art Deco” ship future homeport waterfront development site.
Failing that, he’s willing to let the whole thing go for $1 – provided he can find the right owner.
We are seeking a qualified and motivated investor or buyer as alternatives to assure the full restoration of an incredible maritime historic ship with global social and cultural significances. Salvage companies not welcome!
The Kalakala has fallen a long way since it was launched in 1935. In its heyday, it carried 100 million passengers between Seattle and Bremerton, then was retired in the 1960s to become a fish processing ship in Alaska. Following an earlier failed restoration effort, Rodrigues bought the ship and moved it to Tacoma after getting evicted from Neah Bay. He’s proposed a series of plans to make the ship an attraction but none have taken hold.
As we reported earlier this year, concerns arose about the foundering ferry breaking loose and sinking into the waterway, causing environmental carnage. Rodrigues told King 5 that he since made repairs and righted the ship.