U.S. Navy, Maritime Administration and California Environmental Protection Agency representatives joined City and Port officials today to commemorate the approval to transfer ownership of 125 acres of the former Naval Complex to the City of Long Beach.
The property transfer commemoration highlighted the economic success of a thriving shipping terminal and other operations at the former Navy facility. Today, the Pier T container terminal is one of the Port of Long Beach’s busiest — able to accommodate megaships and handling billions of dollars’ worth of trade.
The acreage was part of the former Long Beach Naval Station and Naval Shipyard on Terminal Island that the Navy agreed to transfer to the Harbor Department as part of the ongoing defense base closures that started with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s.
U.S. Navy and City officials first worked out a lease agreement for the Harbor Department to take control of the 500-acre complex on Terminal Island in 1998, allowing the Port to break ground on the new container terminal. The official transfer of ownership is taking place in stages, as environmental issues are resolved. In 2001, the Navy deeded more than half the property to the City of Long Beach. After the current transfer of 125 acres, there are only two smaller parcels left to be transferred in the next few years. The Maritime Administration, or MARAD, which works to complete the transfer of surplus federal property for the development of seaports, is facilitating the process for this site under its Port Conveyance Program.
“The Navy Base Realignment and Closure team is proud to have played a key role ensuring this 125 acres was environmentally suitable for transfer and continued port-related reuse. Any effort of this magnitude takes a great deal of teamwork; the Navy and the Port of Long Beach, along with state and federal regulatory agencies, have worked diligently to develop and implement cost-effective cleanup solutions to facilitate this property transfer,” said Kim Ostrowski, the Director of the Navy Base Realignment and Closure Program Management Office West.
“It’s a proven fact that investments in port infrastructure foster long-term job creation, encourage economic redevelopment, and ensure the availability of adequate port capacity to meet the nation’s future trade and defense needs,” said Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen.
The Navy’s presence on Terminal Island began with the purchase of 100 acres from the City in 1940, during the lead-up to World War II.
The land transfer process is being done in steps to allow for environmental cleanup of the property as needed. Depending on the condition of the land, the process has allowed for most of the property to be safely developed and used as soil and sediment investigations are being completed.
In addition to the Total Terminals International container shipping terminal on Pier T, the former Navy property is also home to Energia Logistics United States, which operates Sea Launch, a satellite-launching company. It is also home to a dock for the Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force.
“This property transfer is a symbol of the successful partnership between the Navy, MARAD and the City of Long Beach that turned the closure of a major Navy facility into a thriving commercial terminal,” said Harbor Commissioner Tracy Egoscue. “The transformation of the Naval Complex into a shipping terminal has been a major step forward. The Commission thanks the many people and agencies involved.”
Photo: (Seated, from left) Kim Ostrowski, Director of the Navy Base Realignment and Closure Program Management Office West; Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen; Harbor Commissioner Tracy Egoscue; (standing, from left) Richard Cameron, Port Managing Director of Environmental Affairs and Planning; Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson; Port CEO Jon Slangerup; former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill; and Long Beach Councilmember Roberto Uranga, District 7.