The Dana Point Boaters Association and Dana Point Harbor Merchants Association support the County's selection of
Dana Point Harbor Partners (DPHP) to rebuild and operate our harbor.
Next Tuesday, October 17, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will vote to select a private developer to undertake the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan. In return for their investment in excess of $200 million, the County will award a master lease to operate our harbor for the next 66 years. On October 4th, the County of Orange released a summary of their lengthy and thorough assessment of the two competing teams and their proposals and recommended the selection of Dana Point Harbor Partners. The Boaters and Merchants endorse this recommendation. Let us explain...
Since the County first qualified them to submit proposals to redevelop our harbor, we have been meeting with both teams, getting to know them, learning about their organizations and analyzing their capabilities. We have listened to their visions for the future of our harbor and offered ours in return. We monitored the continued refinement of their plans, culminating with their proposals to the County. Then we met and collaborated with both teams again. And again. Including extensive conversations with each team just this week. Additionally, we have worked closely with our County partners to fully understand their objectives in selecting our private partner, and we have dissected their analysis of both teams and their proposals. And the point is this... Our endorsement of Dana Point Harbor Partners is made after a tireless analysis of their organization, their culture, and their vision for the future of our Harbor.
We believe DPHP to be the superior team financially, organizationally and culturally, with the greater capacity to carry out this massive project to a successful conclusion, while best serving the interests of the public, merchants and boaters.
In the end, the aesthetic vision of the two teams don't differ dramatically. Sure, there are differences in the implementation of their artistry, and in the assessment of the merchants that indeed made a notable difference. But the proposed physical plans are comparable in size, layout and scope. What separates the two teams are not primarily design and architecture, which remain subject to continued refinement, but their financial and organizational structures, which are resolute. There are also important distinctions in project scheduling and phasing, which directly affect merchant retention and success. And the culture and character of the teams cannot be disregarded. On all counts, DPHP is the superior choice. Here's how:
- The three developers that form Dana Point Harbor Partners have incorporated as a single team that will jointly own the entirety of the project and enter into a single contract with the County. This allows the team to share the investment, risk and return across the entire enterprise, reducing the pressure on any single component to succeed independently.
- DPHP is entirely self-funded. They do not have 3rd-party investors to satisfy with profits that are not tied to their engagement in the project.
- DPHP proposes construction phasing that allows most, maybe all, of the merchants to remain open through construction.
- DPHP has agreed to fully commit to the project within 120 days of their selection. They expect to begin construction prior to the end of 2018.
- DPHP is requesting a $20 million subsidy from Dana Point Harbor reserve funds, $25 million less than their competitor. These reserves are accumulated almost entirely from slip fees and tenant rents and are used to fund future capital improvements and maintenance, such as dredging, seawall repairs, and other unforeseen expenses outside of the scope of the P3 contract. Protecting these funds from unnecessary use is one of our highest priorities.
- The DPHP rent proposal (how much they pay to the County) strongly suggests less aggressive slip and rent increases over the duration of the contract.
- DPHP has assured us that parking will remain free of charge into the foreseeable future.
These distinctions set Dana Point Harbor Partners apart from their competitor, and give us high confidence in their successful execution of the Harbor Revitalization Plan. But it goes deeper than that. Successful construction and healthy finances are important, but so is protecting and advancing the charm and family-oriented character of our harbor. And here, too, DPHP has convinced us that they are the better steward to carry our beloved harbor into the future.
Next Tuesday, the Dana Point Boaters Association and Dana Point Harbor Merchants Association will be supporting the selection of Dana Point Harbor Partners to join with the County - and all of us - to rebuild our harbor for the future.