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Photo: Diners sit outside the San Pedro Fish Market. The area is slated for a major renovation over the next two years. (Avishay Artsy)

A long-awaited makeover for San Pedro's Ports O'Call Village 12 MIN, 8 SEC

A rendering of San Pedro Public Market
Image courtesy LA Waterfront Alliance

The redevelopment of Ports O' Call Village has been decades in the making. The village opened in 1963 with cobblestone streets, souvenir and gift shops and seafood restaurants. Now there are plans to change the New England-style seaside village into the modern steel and glass San Pedro Public Market.

In 2013, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners called for the redevelopment of the waterfront site, and in 2016 the board approved a 50-year lease for an expansion of the village in the style of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf.

Mike Galvin is the Director of Waterfront and Commercial Real Estate at the
Port of Los Angeles. "Part of the [Port of LA's] mission there is to make the
waterfront accessible to the public and we view through this development we
will really do that on a very large scale by creating this half a mile
promenade down the main channel of the Port of Los Angeles," Galvin said.
Photo by Avishay Artsy

The plans for Public Market include 150,000 square feet of restaurants and shopping, as well as office space, a 30-foot-wide waterfront promenade, a playground, 16 acres of park space, and an open-air 500-seat amphitheater for live entertainment. It's expected to open in 2020.

The developer is LA Waterfront Alliance, which includes The Ratkovich Company and the San Pedro-based Jerico Development. The landscape architect is James Corner Field Operations.

Eric Johnson, principal of Jerico Development. "A New England fishing village
never made sense to me. We have our own maritime culture. So we're trying
essentially to celebrate California for what it is," Johnson said.
Photo by Avishay Artsy

The 15 shop owners claim they haven't been given enough notice to vacate, and that the developers and the Port of LA reneged on offers to provide temporary locations during the construction phase. They've been asked to move out by early October. Demolition is set to start late this year or early next year.

Public reaction to the planned redevelopment is mixed. Some residents think the village is seedy and rundown, and needs an overhaul. There's a skeptical, "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude from some residents, since this renovation has been talked about for 20 years. There's a sense of nostalgia from people who grew up coming here or worked there during the summers. There's concern that the family-owned businesses that have been around for decades will be replaced by chain retail businesses, which will kill the local flavor and the eclectic charm. There are also concerns that the Public Market won't be for them. The San Pedro Fish Market draws working-class immigrant families who may not like the spruced-up new port.

Some of the shopkeepers at Ports O' Call Village who want to be able to stay
in the new San Pedro Public Market. "I started here in 1963. I have over 50 years
in this place and I will be willing to come back if they give me a chance, no matter
what the rent will be. This is like my second home. My roots here are very deep,"
said Virginia Pavkovich, owner of Mexilatin Gifts
Photo by Avishay Artsy.

But officials say this is a long overdue development that will create jobs and reduce crime. This is all part of a $1.2 billion master plan to turn the port into a coastal destination, which includes the recent openings of the Battleship USS Iowa Museum; Crafted at the Port of LA, an arts marketplace; and Brouwerij West, a craft brewery and tasting room.

Avishay Artsy, Producer, DnA: Design and Architecture (@heyavishay)

Developers reveal plans for $100-million makeover of Ports O' Call
Ports O' Call will be torn down this fall, paving the way for big makeover
Landmark agreement approved for San Pedro's Ports O' Call makeover
Want to track what's changing in San Pedro? Check out this website
Demolition slated to begin at San Pedro's Ports O' Call
Beginning of the end for Ports O' Call Village as shop owners get vacate notices
Even when it's gone, Ports O' Call will live on in San Pedro's collective psyche

Big changes coming to San Diego's Seaport Village 6 MIN, 39 SEC

San Diego's Seaport Village, as it currently looks.
Photo by Misaochan

There's a stretch of the San Diego Harbor that features grassy seaside parks dotted with low trees, a mix of quaint New England-style cottages that house souvenir shops, and a cobble-stoned Spanish colonial-themed food court. Seaport Village is only 37 years old, but it has an old-world charm.

Seaport San Diego would include an observation tower, hotels,
aquarium and expanded commercial fishing marina.
Photo courtesy AVRP Studios

But developers plan to sweep this all away and replace it with $1.2 billion worth of hotels, an aquarium designed by hotshot architect Bjarke Ingels, offices, a 500-foot observation tower, and 30 acres of park and open spaces. Also boutiques, restaurants, a public beach -- all in a very different style from what's there currently.

This is part of the latest wave of a 30-year redevelopment of San Diego's downtown. The San Diego Unified Port District wants to modernize the Seaport, bring in more visitors and connect it to the evermore bustling city by extending some of the downtown streets into the new "Seaport San Diego," as the project is being called.

They launched a competition to redesign the seaport. Yehudi Gaffen and his team, Protea Waterfront Development, won. AVRP Studios are the project's architects.

Tuna Harbor in the foreground would included enhanced facilities
for commercial fishing as part of the Seaport Village redevelopment plan.
In the background is a proposed observation tower.

Photo courtesy AVRP Studios

"It's pretty much going to be about the San Diego lifestyle and trying to represent that physically in terms of the buildings, the public space, the places," Gaffen said.

Paulina Velasco grew up in San Diego, and the redevelopment of the waterfront there is bittersweet for her. She talks with many locals, including the major stakeholders and her own family, to give us a taste of San Diego's next big, homegrown urban project. 

Paulina Velasco, journalist (@_pinavelasco)

Port OKs next steps for Seaport Village redo
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Paulina Velasco on San Diego's Seaport Village

Can Santa Barbara's Funk Zone maintain its funky flavor? 3 MIN, 48 SEC

A new development called La Entrada sits between Santa Barbara's waterfront,
the Funk Zone neighborhood and the city's Amtrak station.

New construction is changing the look of Santa Barbara's waterfront. First, a new science museum opened its doors earlier this year. Now, a major development taking up three parcels of land is about to open. While both projects are meant to boost tourism along the city's main corridor, it also means saying goodbye to part of its charm.

The Funk Zone used to be a real estate wasteland. It was full of grain mills and fish packing houses. Then, in the 1970s, artists started renovating these cheap, industrial spaces into funky apartments and studio workplaces. About twenty years ago, those artists started getting priced out.

Rents went up. Wine tasting rooms moved in. So did breweries, high end bars and restaurants. Tourists from LA started coming up for bachelorette parties. Just like the Arts District in LA, the Funk Zone became unaffordable for artists and craftspeople.

Now a development called La Entrada is going in next door. It's a 250,000 square foot project that'll include a swanky hotel with rooms for $500 a night, a rooftop pool, an upscale restaurant, parking garage and more.

So, what will Santa Barbara's waterfront look like once all this construction and development is complete?

KCRW's Kathryn Barnes spoke to residents who lament the loss of the Funk Zone's eclectic spirit, as well as those who are looking forward to new developments.

Kathryn Barnes, Coordinating Producer, KCRW Santa Barbara

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Will a new hotel take the last bit of funk out of the Funk Zone?

AltaSea seeks to combine marine education, research and commerce 5 MIN, 51 SEC

The Wharf Plaza, an Education Pavilion, and a park
will be part of the Waterfront Promenade at AltaSea
Courtesy of Gensler

 AltaSea is a 35-acre campus being built on a century-old wharf at the Port of Los Angeles. The $150 million expansion brings together marine research and education, workforce development, tourism and commerce around issues of ocean-related food, energy and climate security.

Jenny Krusoe, executive director of AltaSea, points to a rendering
for the new Waterfront Promenade at AltaSea, designed by Gensler.
Photo by Avishay Artsy.

Nonprofit foundations and government sources, including the Port of Los Angeles and the Economic Development Administration, are funding AltaSea. It will be built in phases, eventually offering seawater laboratories, offices, a lecture hall, interpretive center and a wave tank.

The new waterfront promenade, aquaculture research center, and science hub is seen as a cornerstone of the waterfront redevelopment of San Pedro.

Li Wen, Gensler
Jenny Krusoe, AltaSea (@jkrusoe)

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Gensler reveals plans for 35-acre Port of LA Marine Research Center
AltaSea welcomes sea explorer Robert Ballard and his Nautilus to San Pedro
SpaceX wants to double its footprint at the Port of Los Angeles

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