Port District grants boutique hotel developer 60-day extension to complete due diligence.
VENTURA — Ventura Port District’s Board of Port Commissioners approved an amendment to the pre-option agreement between the harbor’s governing body and H. Parker Hospitality, Jan. 10; both parties are aiming to finalize an accord to develop Parcels 5 and 8. As announced last year, the Board of Port Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a new boutique hotel and adventure lodge, which garnered much excitement from the community.
In the amended agreement, it was stated that for a period of 60 days both parties agree to an extension, culminating on March 12. This extension would allow both parties to tend to any orders of due diligence.
Dana Severy, Senior Vice President of H. Parker Hospitality and who is leading the planning and entitlement effort for this project, tells The Log in an email, “In the intervening months since our selection by the Port District through the Request for Proposals process, we have been focused on due diligence activities and lease negotiations with the Port District.
“With respect to our multi-disciplined due diligence activities, we remain on a trajectory to complete this foundational effort by mid-March,” Severy continued. “In that our development is predicated on consummating a long-term lease with the Port District, we have been working closely and productively with the Port District to advance our negotiations. Given our good progress to date, we would anticipate finalizing a lease this summer. Looking ahead, we anticipate commencing our entitlement activities with the city of Ventura shortly after finalizing our lease with the Port District.”
Severy also made it clear this project has been a collaborative effort with the Port District.
“In collaboration with the Port District, we have been very active in advancing the project since being selected by the Port District at the end of May last year to develop two lodging types that are currently absent from the Ventura market,” Severy said. “With our proposed high-quality family oriented boutique hotel and an affordably priced hostel property, we are introducing land uses that are complimentary not competitive with existing Port businesses or lodging properties throughout the City. We view our project as fundamentally about ‘addition,’ not ‘division.’”
A first of its kind, H. Parker Hospitality plans to design a four-star hotel in Ventura.
“We are proposing Ventura’s first four-star hotel so we are creating a new resort market in the city and finally providing the resort traveler a compelling reason to get off the 101 freeway in Ventura rather than speeding through it on their way to Santa Barbara,” Severy told The Log. “The family orientation and differentiating character of this boutique hotel, which does not depend on the group business trade for economic sustainability, means this property will draw a new demographic to Ventura.”
Severy predicts a number of events already scheduled in the Ventura area will be a draw for visitors. He added the conveniences offered by the new hotel and hostel will complement the atmosphere already established in the city of Ventura.
“The hotel’s expansive program provides a number of meaningful opportunities to engage locals and make it a favored destination for them,” Severy said. “The inviting beachside café with its energizing live music (i.e. the free “Concerts in the Sand” program) should be popular with locals and certainly will offer a convenient [food and beverage] destination now lacking at Harbor Cove (beachgoers won’t have to traverse a packed parking lot and cross busy Spinnaker Drive to access food and beverages).”
A public boardwalk surrounding the hotel on its waterside is also proposed, according to Severy. A planned “Events Barn” will hosted both private and public events.
“We have preliminarily engaged with the Park Service to utilize the Barn for a public lecture series on the natural wonders of Channel Islands National Park. This flexible facility will be equally proficient at hosting art shows, live music, wine tastings, culinary events, and other engaging programs,” Severy said. “It is also worth noting that we propose to include a landscaped public pocket park overlooking the harbor on the nearby hostel site.”
While it appears the plans have been met with mostly positive feedback, there are some issues that may arise from the new developments.
Janet Lawson, a member of Ventura Yacht Club, stated, “I’m concerned about parking and traffic.”
With newer businesses arising aimed to attract more outsiders, certainly there is a possibility on whether traffic flow and parking could be problematic when the hotels are finally built. At this time, Severy says, “Our proposed parking program for the hostel and boutique hotel includes surface and structured parking capacity. Interestingly, our parking plan provides significantly more capacity than will be generated by on-site demand during prime recreational boating and beach-going hours.”
The Port District was unavailable for comment at this time.