What’s a Berth Worth?

Parker Diving boat outside our bedroom window
Gone!  |  photos by Peter Polivka and Larry Clinton  |  post by Larry Clinton

At 6:45 a.m., on January 29, Jane and I were awakened by the spooky sound of loud voices outside our bedroom window. I glanced out to see a brightly-lit workboat from Parker Diving Services preparing to haul out the home next to ours. An early high tide necessitated the inconvenient timing of the move.

Built on a wood-hulled landing craft, the tiny home had been unoccupied for years, and served as a kind of work float for its owner, John Polivka, who also owned as many as three other homes on Gate 6 ½.

Unfortunately, John passed away near the end of 2017, and his family has been attempting to sell these homes, which are in various stages of restoration. Because the landing craft was essentially a teardown, prospects were concerned about the process of disposing of it, and then building something new in its very narrow berth. So, the family decided to have it towed to the Army Corps of Engineers dock and crunched.

With the assistance of Rachelle Dorris of Coldwell Banker, they are now marketing the “Unique opportunity to secure a seldom available berth” for an asking price of $300,000. A listing on Zillow encourages prospects “to build your own tiny floating home with spectacular views of Mt. Tam and Richardson Bay. Perfect for a week-end getaway or studio.”

Rachelle told me she felt this price—for the right to acquire a berth lease—was fair, because she had recently sold a teardown in Waldo Point Harbor for over $400,000, and those buyers had to pay even more to dispose of the existing home.

So, is the value of a small floating home berth $300,000?  Only time and the market will tell.