Waterside Trader Joe’s Clears Another Hurdle

Posted June 15, 2016 by The Argonaut in News

Developer plans to break ground soon on redevelopment of Pier 44

A rendering depicts the planned seaside Trader Joe’s in Marina del Rey

A rendering depicts the planned seaside Trader Joe’s in Marina del Rey

By Gary Walker

The California Coastal Commission has rejected an appeal against the redevelopment of Pier 44 in Marina del Rey, allowing construction of new restaurants and retail — including a waterside Trader Joe’s specialty grocery story — to break ground along Admiralty Way as early as this year.

Santa Monica-based developer Pacific Marine Ventures LLC plans to reconfigure the boat sales, maintenance and dry dock facility into an 83,253-square-foot shopping and dining destination encompassing eight new structures.

In addition to a Trader Joe’s with a seaside dining patio, parking for boats and a water taxi stop, the new Pier 44 would set aside another 8,000 square feet for waterfront restaurants and include a public pedestrian promenade along the waterfront that’s 28 feet wide. A new location for boating supplies retailer West Marina and a new home for the South Corinthian Yacht Club are also in the mix, with space for 462 cars and 100 bicycles to park.

The Costal Commission June 9 vote to reject the appeal was unanimous.

Jon Nahhas, a frequent critic of Marina del Rey development who founded the small boater advocacy group the Boating Coalition, had filed the appeal against Pier 44’s coastal development permit.

“Marina del Rey was built for the recreational enjoyment by the residents of Los Angeles County. It was not built for the residents as a destination to shop. Based on the information available, it appears that the approved project is inconsistent with the [coastal development] policies related to traffic, public participation in the decision-making process, public access, non-water related uses in the tidal zone and the overall policies of the California Coastal Act,” Nahhas wrote in his appeal.

Nahhas also complained that the new Trader Joe’s location does not provide adequate parking and that not enough was being done to mitigate local traffic impacts. He also charged that officials did not allow for adequate public participation in the review and permitting process, a frequently voiced concern about new development in Marina del Rey.

The project has been approved by Regional Planning and the supervisors. Nahhas was appealing a decision by the supervisors, who turned down his initial appeal of the planning commission’s approval.

Aaron Clark, a land-use consultant with Armbruster Goldsmith & Delvac LLP who is representing Pacific Marine Ventures, characterized Nahhas and his Boating Coalition as a “coalition of two.”

“The appellant’s chief allegation is that the project will adversely impact the public’s ability to access the coast, in contravention to the Coastal Act’s access policies. We categorically reject that false allegation,” Clark wrote to the commission about the appeal.

Now that the project can move forward, Clark said Pacific Ventures would try to obtain building permits as quickly as possible.

“We’d anticipate breaking ground by late summer or fall,” he said.




    Ambrose Terrence

    Nice as it might be to have a TraderJoe’s with a dinghy dock and all that, I’m thinking this whole thing is one more planning disaster that in the end will result in the further removal of anything to do with Nature l, much less boating, from MdR. With the already hideous traffic, the endless rush to build more and higher and newer and oh yes, more expensive rental apartments and retail outlets, whatever character there was here is going, going, gone. Politicians-profiteers rule the day and it is a sad day indeed. Ambrose Terrence, Marina Del Rey

      Jake R

      I live in basically across the street from this AND CANNOT WAIT FOR THEM TO BUILD HERE and get rid of this eyesore dump of Pier 44 as it is now.


    My understanding is they are going to use native plants in the landscaping. As for the shops i do not see how much different this is from what is already Fishermans Village, not to mention all the residences right next door along the jetty. I think most people would see this as an upgrade that provides more access to the public rather than less. Also i am looking forward to July 4th and watching the fireworks without being so crowded along the water front. Mostly developing a big parking lot that has been there for 50 years so more people can enjoy the area, i have no problem with that.


    As a third generation Venice native, a son of the legendary marine scientist and founding member of the Coastal Commission Dr. Rimmon C. Fay, and an environmentalist who ran for 3rd District LA County Supervisor in 2014, I have these comments: Jon Nahhas is correct and an honorable member of the community for challenging this, and many other unacceptable actions by the current Supervisors and blatantly corrupt Coastal Commissioners and Staff. It doesn’t stop at the Local and State level. Our current Federal representatives have no intention of respecting what was promised in US Public Law 780 and detailed in House Document No. 389. The new development that will replace boating services should be named Traitor Don’s. Never again will I shop at a Trader Joe’s outlet if they continue to develop this project. Honesty is the best policy.

      Jake R

      Sure. Better to leave it as a dumpy parking lot and abandoned shit hole the way it is now, right? I’m always amazed by the people that want to halt development and always keep things “as they always were”… time to move along with the times.


    I’m personally very excited about this and think this community needs something like this especially Trader Joes! Why wouldn’t we want to enjoy shopping and dining by the beautiful water? Parking and such can be worked out! Let’s enjoy the city we live in even more!


    My understanding is that it is along Admiralty blocking views to the 9th floor of the high rises on Lincoln. If that’s true, very sad for all those pricy residences.

    Noel Sanchez

    I think a new waterside shopping and dining area would be wonderful! Why would anyone be against it is my question? Parking and logistics can be worked out but we live in a beautiful community and this can help us enjoy that even more! I know so many people who are very excited about this and will be there weekly supporting these shops and businesses, my family included! Thank you for making this happen for our amazing community.


    I think it’s great! Right now it’s just a waste of space! It’s an ugly parking lot.

    S Spiegel

    Marina Del Rey needs more high end restaurants to compete with Venice and Santa Monica, and a Trader Joe’s for boaters and residents is a great idea! The existing structures and parking lot are hideous, can’t wait for them to be put to good use!


    Time to re-route the 90 fwy to the south and away from the Marina…

    frank johnson

    where by chance will the bike path go?
    Don’t get me wrong, i LOVE the brutal traffic, the removing of all trees, and the constant construction of larger and more expensive apartments. I guess as long as developers and politicians are getting $$$, we better do it!


    What about the small boat owners who use Seamark Marine for their boating needs? There is no other facility in the entire marina that services small boats. Space must be found for Seamark to remain in the marina.

    S Spiegel

    Hopefully many people will ride their bikes, use their boats, or walk with a cart from the thousands of nearby apartments, so won’t need as much car parking. I plan on riding my bike, with basket for groceries, on the bike path along the marina to Trader Joe’s. Sure beats driving in traffic!


    Seamark Marine was promised that they would be relocated within the Marina. This is not happening. Small boat owners will have no facility to service their boats. Pier 44 can be improved with low impact development and the area certainly improved. However this is a marina and should have facilities for small boat owners.

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