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By Breeana Greenberg

Construction on the landside portion of the Dana Point Harbor revitalization is anticipated to begin in 2023—nearly 26 years after the Orange County Board of Supervisors formed a taskforce to begin the effort of updating the now 61-year-old harbor.

The Dana Point Harbor Partners unveiled new renderings and designs for the Dana Point Harbor revitalization project, now estimated to cost $400 million.

“We are thrilled for this long-awaited upgrade to the Harbor’s 1970s-era facilities,” outgoing Orange County Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said in a prepared statement.

The architecture and design for the project have evolved based on community feedback since 2018, when the Harbor Partners released the initial conceptual plans and renderings for the commercial core, the group said in a media release.

In 2018, the county entered into a 66-year ground lease agreement with the Dana Point Harbor Partners to design, renovate and manage the harbor. In August 2019, community members gathered at the Ocean Institute to give the Dana Point Harbor Partners input on design concepts for the revitalization project.

Feedback on initial design concepts emphasized desire for natural and organic landscape rather than overly manicured plants, a need for variety in roofing, trellises and colors, and preference for open outdoor and indoor seating, Dana Point Times reported in 2019.

“We 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,” said Bryon Ward, president of Burnham Ward Properties—a member of the Harbor Partners.

A new harbor design also features “The Boathouse,” an “artisanal-style food court with boats suspended from the ceiling,” according to the Harbor Partners.

With the new plans, the Dana Point Harbor Partners boasts of increased connectivity from Doheny State Beach to Baby Beach with a boardwalk that doubles in size, “creating one of the largest walkable Harbors on the west coast.”

Along the boardwalk, the harbor features increased public green plazas and seating areas, with multiple event spaces for concerts and activities, as well as rooftop bars with views of the water.

The renderings show the newly named Don Hansen Plaza will be home to a whale statue and water feature.

“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,” Ward said.

Construction on the marina began on Aug. 5, marking the first of three components in the revitalization efforts to receive an upgrade.

Bellwether-owned entity Bellingham Marine will develop and build the marina, while sister company Bellport will oversee operations. Marina construction is anticipated to take approximately four months to complete, according to the Harbor Partners.

The new marina will feature increased pump-out stations, public docks and gangways, and new guest docks for vessels of all sizes.

Hotel developer R.D. Olson Development will spearhead the hotel portion of the redevelopments. The Dana Point Marina Inn will be replaced with two new hotels, a four-star upscale hotel and three-star affordable hotel.

R.D. Olson Development plans for both hotels to feature a coastal design with harbor views, restaurants and bars, fitness centers, ballrooms and meeting rooms.

The new three-story parking structure will be included in the first phase of landside revitalization, with construction anticipated to begin early next year and is anticipated to take five years to complete.

Breeana Greenberg

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at

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