Environmental Impact Report begins for proposed development on Newport Beach’s Mariners Mile

MX3 Ventures – MSM Global’s proposal for a mixed-use development project in the Mariners Mile corridor has not moved forward without opposition.

NEWPORT BEACH—A proposed mixed-use development in Newport Beach’s Mariners Mile – a 1.3-mile stretch known as the nautical heart of Newport Beach – has resurfaced.

In November, the city began the process for conducting an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Newport Village project. The proposed private development project by MX3 Ventures – MSM Global involves approximately 9.4 acres on the north and south sides of West Coast Highway in the 2000 and 2200 blocks. The north parcel is situated between the Holiday Inn and Novamar Insurance and the south parcel is between a multi-commercial development and the Boy Scout’s Newport Sea Base.

The proposal involves building 108 apartment units, 14 for-sale condominiums, a car showroom, a boat showroom, office and retail space, 827 parking spots and a new publicly accessible waterfront promenade. All the structures except A’maree’s and an office/vehicle sales building at 2244 West Coast Highway would be demolished and remodeled.

Design plans also include changes to the marina, including adding headwalk sections and a new gangway.

A mix of retail, marine-related commercial, boat rental, service uses, office, and surface parking lots currently sit on the site. Sun County Marine Group, Silver Seas Yachts and Duffy Electric Boat Sales and Rentals are all current tenants and would have the option to stay, according to project developer and CEO of MX3 Ventures Manouch Moshayedi.

“Our goal was to keep all of our tenants once the project is done,” Moshayedi said.

Bob Hunt, president of Duffy Electric Boat Sales and Rentals, said they have signed long-term leases with Moshayedi and would be part of Newport Village, should it come to fruition.

“We don’t feel we will be harmed,” Hunt said.

Mariners Mile has been in the city’s sights for revitalization for some time but has not come without opposition. In 2011, the City Council designated it as one of six “revitalization areas” in Newport Beach. According to previous reporting in The Log, in 2014, the city hired a consulting firm and held public workshops on revitalizing the area only to have the plans quashed several months later.

Newport Beach, in 2016-2017, funded a “Mariner’s Mile Revitalization” planning effort, but it was ultimately scrapped due to opposition from stakeholders and residents.

Moshayedi, meanwhile, said he started purchasing property in the area in 2010. In 2017, he submitted an application for a mixed-use development at the site and revised plans were submitted a year later in 2018, according to city records. Moshayedi said the original plans of a 600,000 square-foot development met all zoning requirements but was scaled back after a year of meetings with the community. He said the current project proposal is half the size, 300,000 square feet, of his original plans.

Moshayedi said with California’s growing housing shortage, almost every city is looking at ways to add more places to live. He also said the area currently does not provide any accessible public space.

“It doesn’t make sense to keep this valuable piece of property the way it is,” Moshayedi said. “It should be made into something everybody can use.”

City staff said they are still in the early stages of reviewing the proposal and one of the first steps includes the EIR process.

“We are still developing our analysis of the project,” Newport Beach Senior Planner Makana Nova said. “We don’t have a specific opinion or recommendation on the project.”

As part of the EIR process, the city held a public scoping meeting on Nov. 20. Many residents and community members attending the meeting voiced concerns about an increase in traffic and noise, the development obstructing views of the bay and the ability for the area to support public services, such as schools, to an influx of people. Nova said all of those things will be studied in the EIR.

“The scope and appearance of the project is not consistent with a small beach town community,” said Peggy Palmer, who is part of the Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile.

Palmer said the coalition has about 2,000 members concerned about the development.

Another related concern voiced by the community, one that is not part of the project plans but the city’s, is the widening of West Coast Highway to six lanes. The expansion of West Coast Highway has been part of the city’s General Plan, which is currently undergoing review. The widening of West Coast Highway has faced strong opposition from residents and businesses in the area.

Nova said at the Nov. 20 scooping meeting, the EIR is factoring the city’s intention of widening West Coast Highway.

A draft of the EIR is expected to be available for public review in summer of 2020. There will then be a 45-day public review period before a public hearing before the Newport Beach Planning Commission.

The project would still have other hoops to jump through before it could begin construction, including getting a Coastal Development Permit from the California Coastal Commission.


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