Bringing a slice of Dana Point history into the revitalized marina, Bellingham Marine announced that each new dock will be named after a different lantern color.
During a private event on Wednesday night, Aug. 16, the waterfront developer announced the completion of phases one and two in the marina revitalization and unveiled a new “lantern” lighting system to boaters and dignitaries.
“One of the things that we wanted to do today is unveil a concept that is truly Dana Point and I think it’s going to be a signature part of this marina,” Joe Ueberroth, founder and president of Bellwether Financial Group, said. “It’s going to tie the landside into the waterside.”
Each dock will be named after a different lantern, and lights lining the docks will turn their respective color for 15 minutes twice a day, Marina General Manager Kelly Rinderknecht explained.
“The concept is so cool because, think about it, if you’re sitting up at the Charthouse, you’re looking down, the whole harbor changes like nine different colors every single night at sunset,” Rinderknecht said. “So it’s like, tourists are excited, boaters are excited, people are going to hang out on the bridge to look at the lights.”
The concept harkens back to Dana Point’s history of lantern lamp posts lining the city’s streets in the mid-1920s.
“The first lantern was in Dana Point in 1925 and it’s great to see now in 2023 that with the modernization of the harbor, we have this new version of the lanterns,” Orange County Fifth District Supervisor Katrina Foley said. “I think it’s a really creative way to bring the landside to the harbor and show that this is really all about our community.”
Foley added that “we’re going to be seeing pictures all over Instagram, around the world, people visiting this harbor. It’s the beginning, I think, of something really special for Orange County.”
Dana Point Mayor Mike Frost noted that while change is tough, Bellingham Marine “did a heck of a job incorporating the Lantern Village into this.”
“Our family lives in the Lantern Village, our family lives on one of the lantern streets that was one of the docks that was opened today,” Frost said. “These are the sorts of things that I think can bridge the gap between the future and what we have now and perhaps get more people on board.”
Kevin and Hydee Riggs, who own a boat in the Dana Point Harbor, are waiting for their boats to be moved into the renovated harbor.
Kevin’s family moved to Dana Point in 1976 and has owned a boat in the harbor since 1977. He noted that he’s seen a lot of changes in the harbor.
“The new docks are beautiful, they’re really great,” Kevin said. “There are some things that we think they’re lacking. We, like a lot of boat owners, like the fact that we have a dock box for storage … but the actual layout of the docks, the power usage, the lighting, they’ve done an excellent job.”
The couple noted that they liked the “local feeling” of the lantern-themed docks.
“We’re ready for our docks,” Hydee said. “We know it’s been a difficult journey for them, so we’re excited to see what we get.”
The event marked the completion and 100% occupancy of phases one and two of the marina revitalization, with phase three nearing completion soon, Ueberroth explained.
“One of the things that I really wanted to do was really thank the boaters, you guys are the first movers, you got to deal with all the learning curves that we have,” Ueberroth said. “Things aren’t perfect, we know it and we’re going to make it even better.”
The revitalization of the 52-year-old harbor is now expected to cost $475 million.
By the end of this year, Ueberroth anticipates 25% of the marina revitalization to be complete.