The Los Angeles County Small Craft Harbor Commission has recommended that county supervisors enter into exclusive negotiations with The BoatYard and Westrec Marina Management, Inc. for a long-term ground lease and redevelopment of the Marina’s only fuel dock.

The commission voted Wednesday, March 9th, to recommend that county chief administrative officer David Janssen and County Department of Beaches and Harbors director Stan Wisniewski enter into exclusive negotiations for a ground lease for the fuel dock, at 13800 Bora Bora Way in the Marina.

The parcel, on the west side of the Marina, includes 46,510 square feet of water.

The fuel dock serves about 5,000 boaters.

The current ground lease of the parcel expires in May next year.

The new ground lease would allow for redevelopment of the fuel dock facility and development of new adjunct facilities, including a restaurant and a public promenade.

Marina officials say that the main purpose of the proposal is to redevelop the fuel dock and related facilities by incorporating a “boater-friendly, waterfront-oriented design.”

The goal is also to “provide a really reliable fueling operation,” said Roger Moliere, County Beaches and Harbors Department asset management chief.

County supervisors authorized a request for proposals (RFP) for development of the parcel September 21st and four proposals were received.

An evaluation committee reviewed the four proposals and recommended that The BoatYard and Westrec Marina Management, Inc., be selected for exclusive negotiations with the county for the ground lease.

The BoatYard/Westrec Marinas proposal was “superior in all of the evaluation criteria categories,” according to the evaluation committee.

“We were very pleased with the quality of proposals,” Moliere said.

The new lease would ensure the continued availability of an on-the-water fueling station for boaters and provide an enhanced level of visitor-serving facilities, including a restaurant, large viewing decks and ample docking space for visiting yachts, Marina officials claimed.

The current parcel provides $167,000 in annual income to the county, according to county officials.

Annual rent to the county under a new lease is projected to reach about $328,000.

While the county would benefit financially, the public would also benefit from the improved fueling station, Moliere said.

The fueling station would offer a 24-hour operation, with high-speed fuel pumps.

“It will provide a much more efficient operation there for fueling,” he said.

The BoatYard/Westrec project proposal involves demolition of all existing improvements at the parcel except the underground fuel storage tanks.

Gregory Schem, The BoatYard president, said the project includes complete replacement of the docks, construction of a 2,000-square-foot commercial building, which includes a restaurant and a public observation deck, and construction of a public promenade with two public viewing platforms.

The proposed restaurant is more of an “oyster bar concept,” Schem said.

The parcel is a nice location for people at the restaurant to observe the activity around the fuel dock, he said.

“The issue of the restaurant is based on how we can do more at Marina del Rey than we already have,” he said.

Carole Stevens, County Small Craft Harbor Commission vice chairwoman, said the parcel is not intended for a restaurant.

“The purpose of the parcel is to be a fuel dock, not a restaurant,” she said. “Who wants to eat at a restaurant and watch boats being filled with fuel?”

“There’s a lot of action at a fuel dock,” Schem replied.

The parcel redevelopment will increase the usage of the fuel dock facility and will “benefit the boating community hugely,” Schem said.

Sean Lee, a Marina boater, supported the new proposed facilities at the fuel dock, saying that when boaters dock in the Marina there is currently “nothing to do.”

“If you launch your boat, there is no place to pull up and go have lunch,” Lee said.

The BoatYard/Westrec will also provide uninterrupted fueling services to boaters during the construction process, which Schem said is expected to take about nine months.

“We’re thrilled about trying to improve this particular parcel and we look forward to working with the county and lessees,” Schem said.