Plans for the riverfront: the Port Authority's new public dock & terminal.

Author:Olinek, W. Steven
 
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With construction scheduled to begin before year's end, the long-awaited Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority (DWCPA) Public Dock & Terminal building will soon be a fixture on Detroit's East Riverfront. Once completed, the 21,000-square-foot facility will become the new headquarters of the DWCPA, as well as the premier Detroit River site where visiting ships of all types dock.

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The Port Authority project is seen as another key component in the revitalization of the City of Detroit, bringing a variety of economic and tourism opportunities to the waterfront, the entire region and the state.

Without a permanent, dedicated docking site, Great Lakes cruise ships and other vessels of interest that wish to call on the City of Detroit have to rely on the sporadic availability of Hart Plaza. Detroit cannot currently be included in vessel itineraries because of this unpredictability and the Port Authority cannot market Detroit as a Great Lakes cruise destination without a suitable docking location. For example, the 2009 Great Lakes season will see the entry of two new high-end cruise vessels into the system. The refurbished Clelia II, an all-suite ship with accommodations for 100 passengers will make 12 sailings between Toronto and Duluth, Minn, next year, slipping past Detroit each time. The Pearl Mist, a newly-built, 108-suite beauty will sail between Toronto and Chicago. Its scheduled ports of call include Windsor and Mackinac Island. The significant economic impact of vessel calls, especially on cities in which cruise itineraries begin and end, is not lost on Port Authority officials.

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In addition to housing DWCPA staff offices, the two-story Public Dock & Terminal will include a processing area for tourists, with ticketing, baggage handling, and United States Customs and Border Protection facilities to clear foreign passengers, as needed. Its public...

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