Byline: Taylor Hill
SAN PEDRO — A new Catalina Express terminal in San Pedro has been completed, just steps away from the old terminal the ferry company has operated out of since 1966.
Moving out from the shadow of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the new terminal has been constructed along the waterfront and will serve as the departure point for the Catalina Express boats and the Island Express helicopter service.
“The expansion of the China Shipping Terminal project allowed us to move to this new location,” said Greg Bombard, Catalina Express’ president.
“We’re excited about it,” Bombard added. “We’ve got a waterfront view now that we didn’t have before — and I think we’ve got an operation now where people can come down and enjoy the waterfront, instead of sitting inside of a building.”
The previous terminal at Berth 95 was large, designed similar to an airport terminal, and was originally used as the docking area for the S.S. Catalina steamer.
The new building, designed and built by Watermark Development, focuses on utilizing outside spaces — incorporating an outside dining area, park benches and a golf putting green for visitors to use.
A new restaurant called the Catalina Bistro has been included in the new terminal design, run by chef Laurel Lyman.
“The menu I’ve developed for the Catalina Bistro is designed to appeal not only to Catalina, but to the greater San Pedro community, as well,” Lyman said.
“We’ve got a nice waterfront view, and we can have people come down and enjoy lunch with us, and then maybe we can get them to take a Catalina ride,” Bombard said.
Catalina Express’ fleet of eight boats will continue to rotate as needed between the ports of Long Beach Downtown Landing, San Pedro and Dana Point locations. The San Pedro terminal averages around 250,000 passengers a year. It had an increase in trips this year — up 8 percent from last year.
“It’s good news,” Bombard said. “It’s good for everybody that’s working, and it’s good for San Pedro.”
The completion of the Catalina Sea and Air Terminal marks the completion of the north end of the Bridge to Breakwater Promenade Project. Other additions at the new terminal include an Express Grill, a beer and wine lounge, new parking, an ATM and a tour desk offering Santa Catalina Island Co. and Catalina Adventure Tours activities.