Where there is the allure of the water, there is no shortage of dreamers, visionaries, hucksters, investors, or salesmen willing to expound on the endless new possibilities.
It's a tale as old as time. Which is why some of the oldest land use regulations, notably the public trust doctrine, have survived as basic underpinning notions of western property law. The importance of the preservation of public control and access to navigable waterways and urban waterfronts for water dependent uses, such as commerce, may not be readily obvious to the average citizen, but that doesn't change the basic and indisputable logic and necessity of the rules.
While the hustle and the players inevitably change, the allure of private waterfront ownership and development persists. In the 1850's during the California gold rush, the leaders of the newly formed City of Oakland began to sell off their waterfront (of course, the City's founding visionaries saw fit to make themselves business partners in the sale). Ultimately, decades later, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and ruled that these were public lands and not for sale.
Most of these lands were reconstituted into what is known now as the modern Port of Oakland.