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Dana Point Harbor Revitalization

The Dana Point Harbor revitalization will exponentially enhance the Harbor experience for Dana Point residents and visitors to the area. The revitalization will uphold an appreciation for the Harbor’s rich history, while providing an invigorating meeting place that enhances a sense of community, improves local businesses, and serves as an even greater Orange County icon.

A key feature of the revitalized Harbor will be increased pedestrian connectivity and grand public spaces that will link the community from the Headlands, all the way to Doheny State Beach. Dana Point Harbor Partners (DPHP) recognize the importance of the Harbor to the Dana Point community and beyond. DPHP are passionate about instilling the Harbor’s rich history and renowned reputation as a waterman’s paradise into the revitalization, and will honor the Harbor’s legacy for generations to come.

Click here for general revitalization FAQS.

Commercial Core

Commercial Core

The Commercial Core aspect of the Revitalization will elevate the Harbor’s restaurants, retail, and parkscapes including picturesque public spaces for year-round education, activities and entertainment.

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The Marina at Dana Point

The revitalization of The Marina at Dana Point will include the construction and reconfiguration of all docks and slips.  State of the art technology will be incorporated into each dock, making the infrastructure in The Marina one of the best in the world.

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Hotels

The Dana Point Marina Inn will be replaced with two new, world-class hotels developed and built by R.D. Olson Development, one of the most successful hotel developers in the country. The first will be a 4-star upscale full-service hotel with a waterfront experience for visitors. The second will be a 3-star affordable hotel providing more relaxed style accommodations for a casual stay.

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Construction Updates & Schedule

Dana Point Harbor Partners will continue to work together with the community and the county to provide the latest project updates as they become available.

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Frequently Asked Questions

General Revitalization FAQ:

Who are Dana Point Harbor Partners (DPHP)?

  • Dana Point Harbor Partners, LLC (DPHP), is a real estate partnership created to own the leasehold interest in, operate and redevelop Dana Point Harbor in partnership with the County of Orange (as owner of the fee interest). DPHP is made up of three “best in class” real estate development firms, each specializing in a unique product type. Under this partnership structure, all components of the project are wholly owned by the partnership, so each partner has an ownership interest in the entire project, in equal proportion. This unique structure allows for collaboration and opportunity to steward each asset class to realize its full potential and ensure maximum public benefit in design, tenant curation and a consistent customer experience throughout the harbor.
  • Partner Burnham-Ward Properties is responsible for stewarding the harbor’s “Commercial Core” which includes the restaurants, shopping/retail areas, non-boater parking lots, office spaces, and other landside buildings, as well as all parkscape areas.
  • Partner Bellwether Financial Group is responsible for The Marina operations and revitalization including the boat slips and docks, boater facilities, dry boat storage, day-boat parking area and launch ramp areas.
  • Partner R.D. Olson Development leads the hotel revitalization which will feature two new hotels including the “Dana House” a 130-room upscale boutique hotel featuring a roof top restaurant, convention spaces and many amenities including pool deck and lounge areas, and the “Surf Lodge” a 136-room, casual hotel geared towards the younger and more cost-conscious traveler.

Why is the Harbor being revitalized?

  • Construction of the Harbor began in the late 1960s, and it was officially dedicated on July 31, 1971.
  • Due to the age of the buildings, proximity to the ocean air, being a highly trafficked area, and extensive deferred maintenance, the improvements including buildings and docks are well beyond their useful life and are in need of replacement. In addition, most of the harbor’s infrastructure including buildings, parking areas, utilities lines, etc. are deficient and under- designed by today’s standards and/or not up to current codes.
  • Much of the existing improvements are now functionally obsolete and in need of upgrade to current modern architectural and design standards.
  • Additional entitlement was obtained to expand much needed retail and food offerings, enhanced public access to the water and amenities and to add much needed parking.

What is a P-3?

A P-3, shorthand for a public-private-partnership, is a legally binding agreement between public and private-sector organizations. In the case of Dana Point Harbor, the County of Orange (owner), a public entity, have selected Dana Point Harbor Partners (DPHP), a private entity, to revitalize and manage the Harbor.  Under this agreement, the County of Orange retains ownership of the Harbor, and DPHP have a 66-year ground lease with the County, which commenced October of 2018. In a P-3, the private party invests its own capital (no taxpayer dollars are spent) to design, develop, and maintain the property for the full duration of the lease.

Public-private partnerships help fill the void between typical annual government accounting and capital budgeting. Simply, it allows for private entities to invest their own dollars, freeing up funding for government entities to utilize on more critical issues. In a recent report by Deloitte titled, “Closing America’s Infrastructure Gap: The Role of Public-Private Partnerships,” it succinctly outlines benefits to utilizing P-3s as follows:

  1. P-3s have a solid track record of on-time, on-budget delivery.
  2. P-3s transfer certain risks to the private sector and provide incentives for assets to be properly maintained.
  3. P-3s can lower the cost of infrastructure to the public entity by reducing both construction costs and overall life-cycle costs.
  4. Since satisfaction metrics can be built into the contract, P-3s encourage a strong customer service orientation.

Why is a P-3 beneficial?

  • P-3 is beneficial as the County does not need to fund the needed improvements and revitalization of the Harbor. This frees up tax-payer dollars to be spent in other needed areas within The County of Orange.
  • DPHP is free to manage the property in a manner that realizes the highest and best potential for the property and its improvements. DPHP enters into third-party leases throughout the project (under sublease or license agreements) and the income derived from those leases is shared between DPHP and the County. This particular lease is set up as a percentage lease whereby the County receives a percentage interest in the annual gross revenue, which is backstopped by an annual minimum rent. The rental income that the County collects from DPHP, is put towards the County Tidelands Fund and is used for its current and future obligations within Dana Point Harbor. These obligations include public safety by the OC Sheriff Department/Harbor Patrol and maintenance of the areas it has retained throughout the harbor such as Baby Beach, Harbor Patrol property & operations, Sailing & Event Center, etc.

Scope of revitalization:

  • The DPHP land-side leased premises area extends along Dana Point Harbor Drive (“known as the Cove”) from Puerto Place near Doheny State Beach to the start of the Sailing and Events Center at Baby Beach, the area across the bridge known as “the Island” which extends from the Harbor Patrol station to east to the Dana Point Yacht Club to the west. The DPHP leased premises also feature all water-side areas throughout the Harbor including docks and waterways, except for the docks adjacent to the Sailing & Event Center, Harbor Patrol and Ocean Institute. The Sailing & Event Center, Baby Beach & its adjacent recreational and parking areas, the Ocean Institute, the Harbor Patrol substation, and certain green belt areas along the bluff are all excluded from DPHP premises and are owned, managed, and maintained by the County of Orange through OC Parks.
  • The waterside revitalization includes all docks and slips within the DPHP lease Premises and adjacent boater service buildings and parking lots. All waterside and landside improvements have been fully entitled. Permits are being issued in phases by the County of Orange, who is the permitting agency.
  • The first phase of the landside revitalization is the area known as the Commercial Core, located at the terminus of Golden Lantern at Dana Point Harbor drive. This area is fully entitled and will feature approx. 120,000 SF of new and vibrant retail & restaurant space and a 3-level parking structure.
  • There are a number of additional commercial buildings scattered throughout Dana Point Harbor within the DPHP Premises. These uses include office, clubs, retail and restaurant uses. These buildings and tenants are situated in either freestanding or shared-use boater service buildings. All of these outer buildings are slated for revitalization, which will be undertaken over the next 5 years. It is DPHP’s long-term plan to improve retail and food offerings throughout the harbor as well as to support the existing clubs and offerings and to improve the pedestrian experience throughout the entire harbor with a new boardwalk, railing systems, seating areas, public art, educational exhibits and new landscaping.

Who is funding the revitalization?

  • The revitalization is privately funded by DPHP. No taxpayer dollars are being spent. The County has agreed to utilize a portion of the Tidelands fund specifically for the new Day Boater and Dry Storage area improvements.
  • Since commencing management of the property in November 2018, DPHP has also invested to refresh the existing improvements and cure much of the needed deferred maintenance and improve water quality. These short-term improvements include painting the buildings, repairing roofs and parking lots, repairing plumbing and sewer lines, installing state-of-the-art filtration systems to prevent trash and debris from migrating into the water, improving the common areas, assisting tenants with new outdoor patio spaces during the COVID pandemic, new tenant monument and way-finding signage, additional events, and other improvements. This investment was made as part of DPHP’s commitment to improve the public experience at the harbor and to assist existing tenants in increasing their sales.
  • DPHP has also been funding all predevelopment work in connection with the revitalization, including but not limited to: ongoing entitlement work, preconstruction work including permitting and consultant studies, Architectural and Engineering drawings, permit fees, legal fees, consulting fees, etc., all of which have been funded in cash.
  • DPHP has also been funding all day-to-day harbor operations such as maintenance, security, valet & parking management out of its cash holdings.
  • Since its takeover of the Harbor, DPHP has been funding all harbor-wide events, promotions and activities such as the Festival of the Lights, the Boat Parade, the Turkey Trot, outdoor movie nights. DPHP is also a proud sponsor of other local community activities including the Festival of Whales, the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce, The City of Dana Point’s Annual State of the City, the Dana Point Surf Club, the Dana Point Outrigger Canoe Club, Surf and Turf Therapy, and many more.

What is the cost of the revitalization?

The revitalization is anticipated to cost nearly $600 million.

How is the County of Orange involved?

  • DPHP and the County entered a public-private partnership (commonly referred to as a P-3)
  • DPHP entered into a 66-year lease with the County of Orange in October 2018 to assume leasehold ownership of its designated Premises within the Dana Point Area and to manage, redevelop and revitalize its Premises area.
  • The County retains fee ownership of the DPHP Premises and has fee ownership and day-to-day management and oversight of those areas excluded from the DPHP Premises such as Baby Beach, Sailing & Events Center, Ocean Institute and the Harbor Patrol Substation.

What is the timeline for the revitalization?

  • DPHP commenced construction on the new docks and boat slips in November of 2022. The waterside improvements will be done in phases (15 total) over an approx. 5-year period. The purpose of replacing the docks in phases is to allow for minimal disruption to the boaters and public during replacement. Phase 4 is near completion and is expected to be open for occupancy in the coming weeks. Phase 5 demolition is soon to begin and is anticipated to be complete and ready for occupancy in June 2024. Once Phase 5 is complete, the entire west basin cove will be 100% revitalized.
  • DPHP commenced construction on the Commercial Core revitalization on February 7, 2024. The Commercial Core features approx. 120,000 SF of restaurants and shops and a 3-level 984-stall parking structure. Just as with the Dock revitalization, the Commercial Core construction will occur in phases (5 total) beginning with the parking structure and the total duration for construction is estimated to be approximately 3 years. The purpose of developing in phases is to maintain access to the waterfront for boaters and the public as well as to allow existing businesses to remain open to the public during construction. 
  • The hotel component is awaiting approval from the California Coastal Commission.

How will the Harbor experience differ once the revitalization is complete?

  • The revitalization will create an incredibly special Harbor experience, featuring the highest quality sustainable design, materials, and four-sided architecture created in a manner that reflects the personality and charm of the community
  • DPHP have been very detailed in all aspects of the design process and the buildings will look as though they have always called the Harbor home.

What are some key features of the Harbor that will come from the revitalization?

Key features of the Harbor will include increased public green paseos and seating areas, multiple event spaces for concerts and activities, rooftop bars with expansive views over the breakwater, an artisanal-style food court with boats suspended from the ceiling named “The Boathouse”, and a boardwalk that doubles in size and increases connectivity from Doheny State Beach to Baby Beach, creating one of the largest walkable Harbors on the west coast.

I have additional questions or comments, who should I contact?

DPHP has hosted many community workshops to gather feedback on the functionality, aesthetic, and community priorities for Dana Point Harbor. If you have additional inquiries, please contact: info@danapointharbor.com

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