San Pedro's aging, kitschy Ports O' Call Village has been poised for a total revamp for decades, and it's been about two years since the LA Waterfront Alliance (made up of developers Ratkovich Company and Jerico Development) unveiled an ambitious plan to put fancy new shops, a central square, a boutique hotel, and more in place of what is still essentially the same stuff that's been there since the 1960s, when the Village was first developed. But now those plans are probably going to be scaled way back, says the Daily Breeze.
Port officials approved an agreement last night that opens the door for the LA Waterfront Alliance to sign a 50-year ground lease at the Ports O' Call and sets them up to deliver big-ish changes to the Village. "It's a smaller project; it's something in which we'll be nominally replacing what is there now," a rep for Jerico told the DB a few days ago, adding, "But it's still 150,000 square feet, and that's a big undertaking." The developers have been talking to National Geographic about creating "a 300,000-square-foot underwater experience to serve as the project's anchor," but otherwise they're mostly thinking about restaurant and park space. Eventually they're also hoping to incorporate a live music venue.
Why scale back the sweeping changes planned for the Village? Studies showed that the projected number of visitors wouldn't line up with the amount of work going in to the Alliance's elaborate plans. There was apparently also concern about undertaking such a comprehensive project with just a 50-year ground lease. The 50-year limit for leases on port property is state-imposed, but there's now a bill moving through the legislature that would allow the port to tack on an extra 25 years, and, if it's adopted, the earlier, super-fancy vision for the Village could come back into play.
Meanwhile, the port is expected to start making some essential infrastructure improvements to the Village in early 2016, realigning Sampson Way to create "a more formal entrance into Ports O' Call." Developers
are focusing now on shaping the green space and new facilities for restaurants that will replace the sagging old shops— "replacing what's there for those who are going to stay," as a rep for Jerico put it. Final downsized plans haven't been publicly shared yet, but are expected to be rolled out at community meetings soon.
· Plans to remake Ports O' Call in San Pedro advance [DB]
· Downsized Ports O' Call plan for San Pedro waterfront set to move forward [DB]
· Ports O' Call to Get Huge Makeover With Hotel and Much More [Curbed LA]