Photo: Tony Tribolet

Dana Point Harbor Partners selected as primary developer for the next 66 years

By Daniel Ritz

During their meeting on Oct. 17, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously selected Dana Point Harbor Partners (DPHP) as the primary developer, operator and manager of the Dana Point Harbor for the next 66 years.

With this vote, the Board of Supervisors has directed Orange County Chief of Real Estate Officer Scott Mayer to enter into lease agreement negotiations with DPHP. If everything goes in alignment with the timeline proposed by DPHP, a draft contract agreement should be completed within the next 120 days.

Beyond the acronym

The DPHP development team consists of three co-managing members, each responsible for their respective property type.

Burnham Ward Properties will oversee the commercial core; Bellwether Financial Group will manage the wet and dry marinas and R.D. Olson Development will manage the hotel sector. A county staff report lists relevant project experiences as the South Coast Collection, Long Beach Exchange, Paséa Hotel in Huntington Beach, Lido House Hotel in Newport Beach, and the Alamitos Bay Marina in Long Beach.

The single master-lease between the county and DPHP was an important element in the Board of Supervisor’s decision. Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett described it during the meeting as “everyone being in the same bucket.”

Universal local support

James Lenthall, President of the Dana Point Boaters Association announced late last week that his group had joined the merchants of the Dana Point Harbor in unified support of DPHP, who at that time had been determined as the county staff’s recommendation.

Lenthall said in an email after the decision was announced that,“The Dana Point Boaters Association is pleased that the Supervisors agreed with us, and the merchants, and so many others in our community that Dana Point Harbor Partners is the superior choice to rebuild our harbor and carry it with us into the future. Though the Supervisors did use today to challenge County staff on the technicalities of their review process, there was never a challenge to the outcome of the process or the recommendation of a developer.”

Shannon Levin, Dana Point Harbor Manager, said that she was excited that the community, boaters and merchants have a viable project to look forward to as well as a solidified developer.

“I think that this resounds (the wishes of the community) that DPHP was the right selection,” Levin said. “Their management structure, financials and timeline are what the community desires. We are all ready to move on with a long-awaited project.”

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