By Helga Gendell
Part VIII of the Marina del Rey history deals with the number of developments that were already built in the Marina prior to 1975, and a “do-it-yourself” boat yard where the county and local boaters worked together to facilitate the project.
Detailed information regarding parcel development is from the Web site of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. A parcel map is also available on the department Web site by clicking on “Communications Strategy” at
By 1975, approximately 40 developments were already in place in Marina del Rey including:
Fisherman’s Village (1964);
Marina Fuels, Bora Bora Way (1962);
Shanghai Red’s Restaurant (formerly Pieces of Eight — 1962);
Bay Club Marina, Tahiti Way (1962 — boat slips);
Villa del Mar Apartments and Marina, Marquesas Way (1963 — boat slips);
UCLA Aquatic Center, Fiji Way (1963);
Marina del Rey Hotel and Anchorage, Bali Way (1963 — boat slips/hotel rooms);
Villa Venetia, Fiji Way (1964);
Tahiti Marina, Tahiti Way (1964 — boat slips);
Neptune Marina, Marquesas Way (1964 — boat slips);
Del Rey Yacht Club, Palawan Way (1964);
The Boat Yard, Fiji Way (1964);
Catalina Yacht Anchorage, Bali Way (1964);
U.S. Coast Guard facility, Fiji Way (1964);
Pier 44, Admiralty Way (1965 — boat slips/retail);
Windward Yacht Center, Fiji Way (1965);
Tony P’s Dockside Grill, Admiralty Way (1965);
Del Rey Shores/Del Rey Shores North, Via Marina (1965);
Marina Waterside, Admiralty Way (1965);
California Yacht Club, Admiralty Way (1966);
Commodore Club, Admiralty Way (1966);
Foghorn Hotel and Cheesecake Factory, Via Marina (1966);
Best Western Jamaica Bay Inn, Via Marina (1966);
Mariners Bay, Palawan Way (1966 — boat slips);
Dolphin Marina, Panay Way (1967 — boat slips);
The Waterfront, southeast corner Admiralty Way and Palawan Way (1967);
Holiday Harbor Marina, Panay Way (1968);
Marina Professional Building, Admiralty Way (1969);
Warehouse Restaurant, Admiralty Way (1969);
Del Rey (P. 77), Mindanao Way (1969);
Café del Rey, Admiralty Way (1969);
Oakwood Garden Apartments, Via Marina (1970);
Marina Beach Shopping Center, Washington Boulevard (1970);
Marina West Shopping Center, Washington Boulevard (1970);
Marina City Club, Admiralty Way (1971);
Mariners Village, Via Marina (1971);
Trizec Hahn Towers, Admiralty Way (1971);
Marina International Hotel, Admiralty Way (1973);
Los Angeles County Fire Station, Admiralty Way (1973); and
Archstone Marina del Rey, Via Marina (1975).
The following information is cited from “The Urban Marina: Managing and Developing Marina del Rey,” by Marsha V. Rood and Robert Warren.
A different relationship existed among the county, the boaters and the relevant lessees over the issue of providing a “do-it-yourself” boat yard in the Marina. The matter was resolved differently as well.
When Chris Craft phased out its “do-it-yourself” service area in the late 1960s, it closed down the only such facility in the Marina. Boaters who were interested in making their own repairs were forced to go either to the Long Beach-San Pedro area or have the work done professionally in one of the two Marina yards for a higher cost.
It was much more than an economic question, however. To many, being able to putter around and repair their own craft was an important part of owning a boat. One boater expressed these feelings by letter to Los Angeles County Supervisor Burton Chace in July 1971.
The official reply was that, although the county could not require either of the two existing boat yards in the Marina to have do-it-yourself areas, the department was reviewing the possibility of making such a service available itself, providing that it could be done on a sound legal and financial basis.
Since the one parcel designated for boat repairs was not yet leased, the county could solicit bids for the necessary facility. Failing to find a lessee, the county itself could construct and manage the self-service yard.
As concern over the problem increased, a group of boaters requested that the county provide a do-it-yourself yard on the available parcel. The Small Craft Harbor Commission responded in February 1972 by recommending that the department staff make a review of all the problems involved in leasing the parcel for such a purpose.
A representative of the Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs also volunteered to investigate the feasibility of the proposed yard and to try to create bidder interest in the leasehold.
At this point, the Pioneer Skippers also became actively involved in providing evidence to support the economic feasibility of such an operation.
The skippers group distributed 4,000 questionnaires to its members and other boaters throughout the Marina that asked for information concerning spending patterns for boat repairs and interest in a self-service yard.
Because the rate of return was low (264), the responses seemed to be better indicators of an interest in such a facility than of its economic feasibility. Even so, the skippers report on the survey in March 1972 added momentum to the campaign.
At its April meeting, the commission discussed the feasibility of the county’s developing a yard with minimum improvements and perhaps leasing it out on a short-term basis.
Accordingly, specifications for a county yard were drafted for the commission by the department and distributed to the Pioneer Skippers, individual boat owners, potential bidders, and other concerned parties for their review and comment.
The commission then adopted preliminary specifications for bidding on a three-acre yard at its May 1972 meeting. The director of the department advised the commission that if no qualified bidder were found, the county had the option of building the facility itself.
Once it became evident that the county might develop the service, a significant change occurred in the position of the two boat yards in the Marina, Chris Craft and Windward Yacht. Assessing the implications of competing against a county-operated do-it-yourself yard with lower rates, the two lessees submitted a proposal to jointly develop a self-service area at the June 1972 meeting of the commission.
The department’s staff made a detailed evaluation of the offer for conformity with all county requirements. The director then recommended approval with the stipulation of a six-month trial period.
Gruen Associates, consultants to the Marina, also responded favorably to the proposal, as did representatives of the Pioneer Skippers. On this basis, the county approved the joint undertaking.
The “do-it-yourself” case offers an example of the direction policymaking for the Marina can move. There was direct and productive participation by the county and several interested groups in resolving the question.
The county exercised some degree of initiative in meeting a need not met by the private sector. Lessees, when faced with the possibility of competing with a self-service yard (due to the power and willingness of the county to take unilateral action), were able to reach an accommodation with boaters for a needed service, at least for a trial period.
In two of the three cases discussed [the others were the John and Willie Hjorth and Robert Feldman cases], there appears to be greater flexibility in the county management system to respond to a wider range of interests than was the case during most of the 1960s.
It is also clear that the policies and operating rules established to ensure the financial solvency of the Marina still exercise a powerful influence over the options that are available for dealing with newer issues.
A key to the future resolution of such controversies may be to improve the Marina management’s ability to anticipate and meet social and environmental problems, and to represent a wider range of interests.
Note: The Marina del Rey Historical Society is compiling memorabilia for its collection. If you have photos, documents or any special memory of the Marina you would like to share, please contact the society at (310) 578-1001, or firstname.lastname@example.org/.