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May June 2019 Marina World

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COVER STORY: DANA POINT the harbour. A renovation fund was established to fund the rebuild. That has grown to about million today - impressive, but not nearly enough. It was clear the harbour could not be revitalised by public financing alone. “Costs were increasing at a faster rate than the fund was building,” said Lenthall. “The County was several hundred million dollars short and going backwards.” Lisa Bartlett takes the helm When Lisa Bartlett, the newly elected Orange County Supervisor, took office in 2014 she was already familiar with the project from her years on the Dana Point City Council and passionate about the project from the moment she arrived. The amended LCP allowed plenty of latitude to build a world-class harbour, but where to find the money and the expertise? Bartlett’s solution was a public-private partnership (P3) granting ownership to private partners who would fund, develop and operate the harbour under a 66-year lease agreement that included the marina, retail and present and future hotels. When the lease ends, ownership returns to the County. Bartlett issued a request for qualifications seeking financially strong, best-in-class companies with solid track records. Fortunately, they were right in her back yard in Orange County. She also became familiar with a similar P3 project underway in southwest Washington, DC, called The Wharf. The District was revitalising a longneglected and rundown waterfront. The successful transformation impressed Bartlett. (See ‘Waterfront points the way at The Wharf’, Marina World, July/ August 2017). Two groups emerged as final The new slip layout for Dana Point (above) reveals the extent of the marina project. Upland leisure amenities (below) are set to attract visitors and the local community. Images: SMS Architects candidates and the contract was awarded to Dana Point Harbor Partners (DPHP). The partnership comprises Bellwether Financial Group (waterside) led by Joe Ueberroth, Burnham Ward (retail) led by Scott Burnham and Bryon Ward, and R D Olson (hotels) led by Bob Olson. All three have headquarters just 15 miles north in Newport Beach, CA. Everyone involved with the project unanimously applauds supervisor Bartlett and credits her as the catalyst that finally launched the long overdue project. “It would not have happened without her energy and imagination,” said Ueberroth. “This project is a proud legacy crowning her years of public service.” R D Olson will build two new hotels along the marina and Burnham Ward will transform the retail experience into a seaside village that will cater to all citizens of the County. “The marina design was a close collaboration between my team, James Lenthall and his board, and many community members that call the harbour home,” said Ueberroth. “As we continue to work together, utilising Bellingham Marine’s next-generation technology (a company owned by Bellwether), we are confident that our new marina will be enjoyed by the current and next generation of boaters and that the marina has the potential to last the life of the 66-year lease. A unique private partnership DPHP operates as a single master developer. “Bellwether owns one-third of the waterside development,” said Ueberroth, “one-third of the retail and one-third of the hotel properties. My partners have exactly the same ownership. That streamlines the project—the County deals with one master developer rather than a series of them. Each of us has a financial interest in the whole, we’re not just focused on our own discipline. That gives us unique cohesion, integrates all phases, and allows us to prioritise the total guest experience.” The project will cost 0 million. The County contributes million for the construction of the new dry storage facility, retains million to operate the harbour patrol, fund road improvements and the like and continues to receive lease payments from the partnership. The private partners invest 0 million and assume the vast majority of the liabilities. “Dana Point will be the model for how to revitalise harbours throughout the US,” said Ueberroth. “The P3 partnership was the brainchild of Supervisor Bartlett. She got it done without public financing… a remarkable accomplishment.” - May/June 2019 33

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