Oxnard – The Fisherman’s Wharf Request for Proposals (RFP) workshop continues with kibo Group President Alberto Valner proposing a lifestyle mall with a grocery store, restaurants, cafes, public spaces , an amphitheater, 70,000 square feet of retail space, and the potential for residential units.
Fisherman’s Wharf is outdated, dilapidated and in need of an overhaul. Three groups presented to the crowd at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center who listened and offered feedback to the developers.
Valner said the kibo group is based in Los Angeles and has been active in real estate for the past 30 years. They go to Southern California communities with great pride of ownership, engage with the community and develop financially successful projects that integrate the larger community.
“We’ve made it through some of the toughest communities in Southern California, like Santa Barbara, Montecito, Santa Monica and Malibu,” he said. “When I was introduced to and saw the ownership of the port, I felt there was a great need to bring the wider community into the process.”
He said they looked at what was tried to be done at the port and their proposal adopts existing planning and zoning and moves quickly through the process without going through years of amendments or changes to the plan.
“What we’re proposing is an outdoor lifestyle grocery store anchored center,” he said. “Some of our projects are located in Santa Barbara, Santa Monica and Montecito. We have been involved in the concession and construction of thousands of single-family homes, several thousand apartments and approximately 1.5 million square feet of commercial office space.
He said the aim is to make Fisherman’s Wharf a welcoming, welcoming and thoughtful retail project with a center that sets the stage and attracts visitors while providing a community space with a commercial environment for local residents and users of the marina based on its size, location, and shape, zoning, permitting process and history.
“We strongly believe that this project should be redeveloped as a shopping center anchored in the lifestyle market and a focal point of the community,” he said.
His group proposes an amphitheater that will be a focal point for community education, celebrations, meeting places, water games and other components.
DMHA Principal Architect Ed DeVicente said the Channel Islands Harbor and Fisherman’s Wharf are an important community asset. When his group looked at the harbor, the first step was to identify what it had and what it didn’t have, as well as which sides are best suited for different uses,
“We looked back at the visual documents that many of you participated in over previous decades, and what surfaced for us is more of a community gathering place,” he said. “I’m picking up the important pieces that are already here; the promenade, in particular, along the promenade, which is so valuable”.
He envisions a “beautiful, versatile public space for different public uses.”
“It could be holiday markets, farmers markets, the flexibility of all the seasons that we have to be in and out here in Oxnard,” DeVicente said.
He noted five different retail spaces they could split, depending on the vendors partnering with the development.
“Anchor is more for vitality every day,” he said. “We’re looking at a niche anchor market,” he said. “We have a number of great grocers in the area, so this would be more of a specialist draw to enhance and support the wider community and the uses of the harbor there.”
DeVincente noted that there was plenty of parking and the development of the site provided easy access for customers while meeting standards for emergency exit and fire access.
“Really, the most important part is to improve what is now the corner to have a more welcoming draw, not only as a starting point but as an end point of a walking experience in this part of the harbor,” he said.
Many layers of data began to present the proposal, but he told the crowd that it was an early conceptual design.
“It will be massaged and moved as soon as we get additional input,” he said.
The images demonstrated what the space could look and feel like, including ample public seating, pleasant interaction with the building, hardscape and play areas.
“There’s infrastructure for bikes to go around the harbor and connect with other places,” he said. “There are also many residents in the port, and this is a good space for them. There are some varied architectural forms, and we still haven’t settled on our exact approach design. These are ideas to start the community discussion process.”
He said they want the creative use of color to enhance the space, and the Wharf currently has a good use of color.
“It improves the look and feel and creates a fun dynamic between that and the landscaping, which is also going to be very important,” DeVincente said.
They like how the harbor areas wear down over time, so he painted a picture of buildings with an industrial feel, plus modern and traditional elements throughout the space.
“We’re focusing on the way we want the walk to feel,” he said. “One- and two-story buildings, with a good mix of retail,” he said. “A good destination place to go, enjoy and have a livelier atmosphere.”
Valner said the kibo group’s proposal scales its size and community as a critical part of the development.
“We’re trying to take the existing zoning codes and the facilities that are there,” he said. “We don’t want to take this project through years of the concession process, but we want to create a project that has a size and scale that is respectful of the community and that becomes a focal point of the city. At the end of the day, that’s really our primary goal.”
Residents can comment on the proposals and the developers’ proposals will be available at channelislandsharbor.org.
A post-workshop survey is available at surveymonkey.com/r/FWChannelIslandsHarbor.