Photos courtesy of Channel Islands Port

Oxnard – The Fisherman’s Wharf Request for Proposals (RFP) workshop continues with kibo Group President Alberto Valner proposing a retail center 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Fisherman’s Wharf is outdated, run down and in need of an overhaul.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 in the real estate business for 30 years. They travel to Southern California communities with great pride in ownership, engage with the community, and develop financially successful projects that engage the community as a whole.

“We’ve done it in some of the toughest communities in Southern California, such as Santa Barbara, Montecito, Santa Monica and Malibu,” he said. “When I was introduced to and seen the Port property, I felt there was a huge need to bring the community as a whole into the process.”

He said they have looked at what has been tried to be done at the port, and their proposal takes the existing planning and zoning in place and moves quickly through the process without going through years of modifications or plan changes.

“What we’re offering is a center anchored in an outdoor lifestyle grocery store,” he said. “Some of our projects are in Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and Montecito. We’ve been involved in awarding and building thousands of single-family homes, several thousand apartments, and approximately 1.5 million square feet of commercial offices.

He said the goal is to make Fisherman’s Wharf a welcome, inviting and thoughtful retail development with a center that sets the stage and attracts visitors while providing community space with a retail 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 into a retail center anchored in the lifestyle market and a community focal point,” he said.

His group proposes an amphitheater that will be a focal point for community education, celebrations, meeting places, water games and other elements.

DMHA lead architect Ed DeVicente called Channel Islands Harbor and Fisherman’s Wharf important community assets. When his group looked at the port, the first step was to identify what it had and didn’t have and which sides were most suitable for different uses,

“We looked at the vision documents that many of you have been involved with over the previous decades, and what has surfaced for us is more of a community gathering place,” he said. “I take the important elements that are already there; the promenade, in particular, along the seafront, which is so precious.

He envisions a “beautiful multipurpose public space for different public uses”.

“It could be holiday markets, farmers markets, the all-season flexibility that we get to be indoors and outdoors here in Oxnard,” DeVicente said.

He noted five different retail spaces they could divide, depending on which vendors partner with the development.

“The anchor is more for day-to-day vitality,” he said. “We are looking at an anchor specialty market,” he said. “We have a number of great grocers in the area, so this would be more of a specialist raffle to enhance and support the wider community and uses of the port.”

DeVincente noted ample parking and the site development provided easy access for customers while meeting emergency evacuation and fire access standards.

“Really the most important part is to improve what the corner is now to have a more inviting draw, not only as a starting point but also as an end point of a walking experience through this part of the harbour” , did he declare.

Many layers of data went into the presentation of the proposal, but he told the crowd that this was an early concept design.

“He will be massaged and moved as soon as we have additional information,” he said.

Images showed the look and feel the space could have, including plenty of public seating, beautiful interaction with buildings, hardscape, and play areas.

“There is infrastructure for bikes to move around the harbor and connect to other places,” he said. “There are also a good number of residents in the port, and it is a good space for them. There are various architectural forms, and we have not yet solved 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 dock currently has a beautiful use of color.

“It enhances the look and feel and creates dynamic fun between that and the landscaping, which will also be very important,” DeVincente said.

They love how harbor areas wear over time, so he painted a picture of buildings with an industrial feel, as well as modern and traditional elements throughout the space.

“We focus on how we want it to be playable,” he said. “One- or two-story buildings, with a good mix of retail,” he said. “A good destination to go, enjoy and have a livelier atmosphere.”

Valner said the kibo group’s proposal scaled its size and community as an essential part of the development.

“We try 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 awarding process, but we want to create a project whose size and scale respects the community and becomes a focal point of the city. At the end of the day, that’s really our overarching goal.

Residents can comment on proposals, and developer proposals will be available on channelislandsharbor.org.

A post-workshop survey is available at surveymonkey.com/r/FWChannelIslandsHarbor.