Dana Point Harbor’s marina merger finally announced

Development team released public statement on consolidation weeks after it was reported.

DANA POINT—Efforts to put Dana Point Harbor Partners, the private development team tasked to oversee the revitalization of Orange County’s southernmost harbor, on the record to confirm the merger of venue’s two marinas proved to be a challenge. The Log can re-confirm the news originally reported in the publication in early March: Dana Point Harbor’s East and West marinas are officially consolidated into one large entity. There are more than 2,400 slips at both marinas, combined.

East Marina and West Marina had previously operated independent of each other. The Log, however, reported the marinas were being merged, as part of Dana Point Harbor Partners’ next step in the waterfront revitalization project, which has been ongoing for more than 20 years. Dana Point Harbor Partners, however, was designated as the revitalization’s project manager in 2018.

Bellwether Financial Group, which is part of the recently created Dana Point Harbor Partners entity, formally announced the creation of “The Marina at Dana Point,” which is the new name of the merged East Marina and West Marina. Dana Point Harbor Partners, comprised of three development groups, stated The Marina at Dana Point creation is part of the entity’s “One Harbor, One Marina” vision.

Bellwether Financial will oversee The Marina at Dana Point. Kelly Rinderknecht was announced as the new marina’s general manager. Rinderknecht served as the general manager of West Marina since 2004.

“The joining of the East and West Marinas into one marina is the first step in our pursuit of a revitalized, world-class marina at Dana Point Harbor,” Ralph Grippo, principal of Bellwether Financial and former president of The Irvine Company’s hospitality division, said in a released statement. “This merger will allow us to deliver a premiere recreational boating experience to a unified Harbor community.”

Rinderknecht and her staff will be based out of their office at 34555 Casitas Place in Dana Point; the main office phone number is 949-496-6137. The office will serve as the headquarters for Dana Point’s revitalization; boaters will also be able to manage their billing, leases and slip reservations at this office.

The marina’s management team is now looking to add to its waiting list for slips; the separate waiting lists at East Marina and West Marina were combined as part of the merger.

Dana Point Harbor Partners, through its released statement, acknowledged the waterfront revitalization would be a slow process.

“Bellwether Financial Group continues its work in redeveloping the marina facilities. Expected to take several years, the improvements will provide state-of-the-art features and amenities to serve the dedicated Dana Point boating community, and to appeal to guest boaters, as well,” the Dana Point Harbor Partners statement said.

The current iteration of Dana Point Harbor’s revitalization was green-lit in October 2018, when the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a 66-year, $330-million public-private partnership. Orange County would team up with Dana Point Harbor Partners (Burnham Ward Properties, Bellwether Financial and Bellingham Marine, and R. D. Olson) to bring the harbor’s revitalization to life.

Official renderings of what the new waterfront could look like appear to be a work in progress. However at least one estimate has the Dana Point Harbor revitalization fully completed by 2030 – which means 33 years would have passed between project conception in 1997 and completion (and this assumes the project is indeed completed by 2030).

Dana Point Harbor Partners finally issued a statement on the merger of East Marina and West Marina, and we know the name of the merged marina’s general manager, but little is known about the county’s involvement in the revitalization. Orange County’s public relations team has, on several occasions, punted to Dana Point Harbor Partners on requests for information.

The former home of Orange County’s Harbor Department, meanwhile, appeared to be unoccupied during The Log’s recent visits there – though various sources did indicate O.C. Parks would continue to maintain a presence at the harbor. What role, accordingly, would Shannon Levin, the former mainstay at Newport Beach Harbor who was hired by Orange County to help manage Dana Point Harbor, maintain at the waterfront? Levin was hired as the liaison between the harbor and Orange County staff after the harbor’s former director, Brad Gross, “retired” from his post.

The Log will continue to monitor the progress of Dana Point Harbor’s revitalization and report on newsworthy events as they occur.

Share This:


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *