Project Concludes a 20+ Year Community Planning Effort and Focuses on Sustainable Practices

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — June 18, 2009 — The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners today approved the Wilmington Waterfront Development Project and adopted the Final Environmental Impact Report.  The project, heavily supported by Wilmington community members, will create a strong connection to the waterfront, with 11 acres of green open space, 8 acres of plazas, a waterfront promenade, floating docks for recreational vessels, water features, a 200-foot observation tower, restoration of the old Bekins Storage facility for a Waterfront Red Car Museum, and commercial and industrial development. The project would be implemented in two phases: Phase I: the Interim Phase (2009-2015); and Phase II Full Buildout: (2015 – 2020).
“This project has been a long time coming, and Mayor Villaraigosa made sure our board was aware of that fact when he appointed us nearly four years ago," said Jerilyn López Mendoza, acting President for the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.  "From our end, it has really been a great experience working cooperatively with the Wilmington community to develop a project that we all are excited about.”
“At the Port, our favorite projects are oftentimes the ones that transform property or facilities into remarkable assets," added Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. "Thanks to the leadership of Councilwoman Hahn and community members like Ken Melendez, this is one of those projects because it will create a wonderful new waterfront that will be enjoyed by Harbor area residents and visitors alike." 
The planning effort for the Wilmington Waterfront began in the 1980s for the area along Avalon Boulevard, beginning at the waterfront and up to C Street. Planning studies were proposed in:
  • 1987 Wilmington/Port Area Planning Study - proposed commercial development at the waterfront at the top of Slip 5 and north along Avalon Boulevard);             
  • 1989 Avalon Boulevard Waterfront Access Study, (RTKL)  - proposed developments at the Slip 5 waterfront, including berthing for historic ships and a water taxi, visitor-serving facilities along Avalon Boulevard, and Banning’s Landing Community Center;
  • 2001 the Foot of Avalon Refined Concept Plan (RRM) - included improvements on property owned by the LAHD and immediately available. This area became part of the focus of the Port Community Advisory Committee (PCAC) Subcommittee in December 2002, when the Avalon Corridor, from C Street south to the waterfront, was identified as an area for community-serving development;
  • 2003 Planning firm SMWM, LLP (SMWM) - worked with the Wilmington Waterfront Development Subcommittee on planning for the Avalon Boulevard Corridor area and the Wilmington Parkway (later to become the Harry Bridges Buffer Project currently under construction). SMWM and the LAHD conducted several workshops, and the resulting document was the Wilmington Waterfront Development Subcommittee—Final Plan (SMWM 2004). This plan called for commercial development areas around the intersection of Harry Bridges and Avalon Boulevards, a promenade and other visitor-serving development at the waterfront, and an open space connection between the two. This plan was adopted in concept by the Board of Harbor Commissioners in October of 2004 and became the basis for the Wilmington Waterfront Development Project;
  • 2006  The LAHD and SMWM undertook a public outreach and collaborative community planning effort which resulted in development of the final plan for the Wilmington Waterfront Project in 2007. Four community workshops were held, with comments solicited relative to community access to the waterfront and commercial development. Over 1,000 people attended the final workshops.

The Wilmington Waterfront Development Project successfully fulfills the vision of the community inspired Wilmington Waterfront Development Program and represents significant and lengthy collaboration between Port staff; teams of planners, designers, engineers, economists, public outreach consultants, and other specialists, the PCAC Wilmington Waterfront Development Subcommittee and the Community of Wilmington.

Sustainable practices are integral to this project, which balances creating recreational areas with sustainable economic development opportunities. Design features include:
  • Green Buildings – new buildings will be LEED™  Certified Silver
  • Solar Panels - Approximately 20,000 square feet, with a goal of offsetting the project’s energy usage by up to 12. 5%
  • Recycled Water - used in water features, flushing toilets and landscaping
  • Recycling – during construction and operations
  • Planting - drought-tolerant plants and shade trees
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Access – increases access to the waterfront and within the project area with the California Coastal Trail, Waterfront Red Car Line, Land Bridge, and Waterfront Promenade
  • Stormwater management - design system uses bioswales, permeable pavement and other systems to reduce stormwater runoff
  • Port Sustainability Policies - Sustainable Construction Guidelines, Green Building Policy, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy, and Sustainable Engineering Guidelines will all be followed

The approved project includes:

Avalon Waterfront District
  • Creation of a waterfront promenade with multiple viewing piers and public floating docks for visiting recreational vessels
  • 7-acre plaza designed for gatherings and events
  • 12,000 sq. ft. of waterfront restaurant and visitor-serving retail
  • Construction of a landmark 200-foot Observation Tower with a pedestrian ramp
  • Creation of a 10-acre Land Bridge with an elevated park and water features
  • Construction of a pedestrian “water” bridge that includes an integrated water feature, open space and improved pedestrian access to the waterfront
  • Street realignments to improve circulation

Avalon Development District
  • Streetscape, sidewalk and utility-provision improvements to support up to 150,000 sq. ft. of light industrial uses oriented towards green technology business development
  • Includes 58,000 sf of commercial development for maritime visitor-serving uses along Harry Bridges Boulevard, between Marine Avenue and Avalon Boulevard
  • Sidewalk and pedestrian-related improvements along Island, Marine and Fries Avenues, Harry Bridges and Avalon Boulevards and C Street
  • Creation of a one-acre Railroad Green park
  • Consideration of adaptive reuse of the historic Bekins Storage property for a Waterfront Red Car Museum

The project extends the historic Waterfront Red Car Line and multi-use pedestrian/bicycle California Coastal Trail (CCT) from San Pedro to connect to the Wilmington community.  The extension of the Waterfront Red Car Line/CCT will begin at the intersection of Swinford Street and Harbor Boulevard, proceed along Front Street, onto John S. Gibson Boulevard, and then along Harry Bridges Boulevard to Avalon Boulevard.   

Anticipated Employment
The project is expected to create a total of 2,847 one-year equivalent construction jobs through the construction period.  Project operations are expected to result in 336 ongoing jobs when the project is completed in 2020.
The Port of Los Angeles, also known as “America’s Port,” has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy and the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. A recipient of numerous environmental awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2007 Clean Air Excellence Award, the Port of Los Angeles is committed to innovating cleaner, greener ways of doing business. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port. A brighter future.