City of Newport Beach
Airports & Ports Project of the Year, Architectural Engineering Project of the Year
Additional Files

Additional Information

This success of this project has already been demonstrated by the public’s interest and use of the park.  Since the recent December 5 Grand Opening Ceremony, Marina Park is being frequented by large numbers of people of all ages engaging in all it has to offer.  The community and visitor are hailing it as a huge success.

Marina Park

Project Location:

1600 W. Balboa Boulevard, Newport Beach, CA 92663
(Balboa Peninsula)

Project Description:

Formerly a City-owned mobile home park, the new Marina Park encompasses a 10.5-acre sustainable and energy efficient site that features a 24,000 square-foot Community Center and Sailing Center building; a newly dredged out Marina now home to the University of California, Irvine’s sailing center; a 23-slip visitor vessel serving marina; and a large open space park with a customized lighthouse and nautical themed children’s playground; fitness circuit; basketball;  among other park amenities.

Project Justification:

From start to finish, the Marina Park project shows the type of exceptional effort and ingenuity worthy of an award. Transitioning a mobile home park to a state-of-the-art community and sailing center required an incredible degree of collaboration with regulatory agencies, public officials, and residents. Around 1983, the public came forth with ideas to develop a municipal waterfront park on the site that would open up views of the harbor and provide much needed play space and park features to an otherwise fully developed urban coastal area. After over thirty years of discussion, negotiations and foundation work—such as purchasing all the mobile home leases—conceptual plans for Marina Park were approved by the Newport Beach City Council in late 2007.  Over the next six years, City staff and a team of consultants worked diligently to process an environmental impact report; negotiate a tideland boundary agreement with the California State Lands Commission; obtain the necessary regulatory permits from the US Army CORP of Engineers, State Water Quality Resources Board, State/Federal Fish and Wildlife, as well as the California Coastal Commission; each of which posed their own special difficulty. With all the regulatory permits and agreements in place—the project’s distinctive design complete, building permits secured—the project then moved into the construction phase. 

Due to the complicated construction elements of the park, as well as the community and elected officials desires to expedite the Park’s opening while controlling cost, the Marina Park project was divided into four distinct and overlapping construction packages consisting of: (1) Site Demolition and Palm Tree Relocation; (2) Marina Basin Construction with Soil Foundation Remediation; (3) Building and Park Site Construction; and (4) Construction/Installation of the New Marina Docks. 

Package 1: Demolition and Palm Tree Relocation
Surprisingly, demolishing the mobile home park for the Park’s development was not without significant obstacles.  One of the first tasks of the project was to relocate 54 of the 57 mobile homes. Additionally, the project relocated and preserved 39 palm trees to be reused in the new park.  Regulatory permit conditions, however, did not allow installation of new palm trees; therefore, ensuring these existing 60-foot Mexican Fan Palms survived multiple relocation during construction took special care.  These trees were housed on an on-site tree farm equipped with a temporary irrigation system, until they were ready to be planted.

Package 2: Marina Basin Construction with Foundation Soil Remediation
This package constructed the first new marina along with California coastline in the past 25 years!  This was certainly a feat as a portion of the peninsula was dredged out to create the marina basin.  The contractor first installed a new concrete bulkhead system, including post-tensioned tie backs that were drilled in for support.  Then, approximately 45,000 cubic-yards of sand material was removed and used for site grading and nearby beach sand replenishment. 

Vibro-displacement was used as a soil densification technique to mitigate liquefaction and to stabilize the soil to support both the marina seawalls and land-side development.  Six hundred and thirty four stone columns were installed, creating the foundation for the subsequent Community Building construction phase. 

Package 3: Building and Park Site Development
This package was the largest of Marina Park construction contracts and attended to many aesthetic and community needs. Here are some highlights:

Utilities: Overhead dry utility lines were undergrounded, and wet utilities were upgraded in anticipation of the above-ground development. This not only provided an visual enhancement, but it also enhanced the system’s reliablilty.

Entrance:  the Entrance to the new Marina Park is marked by the Windows to the Bay at 17th Street pedestrian entrance.  The window is framed with unique architectural columns and flanked by the palm trees salvaged from the previous mobile home site. 

Sustainability Features: Sustainability is central to the new 24,000 square-foot community and sailing center building.  The design meets LEED Silver rating requirements.  Key elements are highlighted in the “Additional Information” section below.  Clerestories, along with the two buildings’ glass stairwells, invite natural light, reducing the buildings’ dependency on interior lighting.  Operable windows and nano- accordion sliding doors provide comfortable breezes and clean views of Newport Harbor.  Together, these passive design strategies provide energy savings. 

Drought-Tolerant Landscape: Site plantings include a mixture of 30 different native and drought tolerant plant species that frame up the open space and features around the site.  Water efficient irrigation system, employing measures such as drip and weather-based controllers, were included to ensure optimal irrigation and discourage over-watering.  The new park and buildings use approximately 46% less water than the prior property uses. 

Parking: Ample parking was also required to support the various trip generators.  As such, the project included 177 on-site parking spaces within three parking lots strategically placed for easy accessibility to various sections of the park.  The Orange County Transportation Authority, as well as the University of Irvine “Anteater Express,” has bus stops in front of Marina Park.  Additionally, the project incorporated several pedestrian connections, boardwalks, paths and bike racks to support and enhance the current walking and cycling nature of the surrounding community. 

Package 4: Marina Docks
This construction package constructed and installed the new concrete dock system and utilities within the new marina that was dredged and constructed under Package 2.  Concrete guide and bearing piles were casted to support the gangway platforms and the concrete dock system that created three (3) operating basins.  Two instructional sailing basins and one visitor vessel serving marina (including a 200’ long side tie) were created.  The visitor vessel serving marina is capable of docking 23 boats, up to 55 feet in length, for up to 30 day stays.

The marina is equipped with all the integral utilities and amenities one would expect from a modern marina, including potable and fire water lines, sewer pump outs, a 120/240V electrical output, three-ton boat hoist, dinghy racks, candocks modular docks, ADA compliant gangways, and Wi-Fi service.

Special Circumstances:

Marina Park is located on the Balboa Peninsula where it is flanked by the Pacific Ocean beach and adjacent harbor bay beach.  Newport Harbor, in additional to being one of the biggest and busiest recreational boating harbors in the county, is also an environmentally sensitive area where water turbidity and quality required constant monitoring and attention during construction.  As such, a series of regulatory permits and agreements, which took many years to obtain, were required including:

• California Coastal Commission - Coastal Development Permit
• Army Corp of Engineers - Section 404/10 Permit
• California Regional Water Quality Control Board – Section 401 Permit
• State Lands Commission Tidelands Boundary Agreement

Many Civil Engineering and Architectural disciplines were included in this project:
• Land Development
• Drainage
• Water
• Waste Water
• Geotechnical
• Environmental
• Fire Protection
• Marine Engineering
• Structural/Seismic
• Electrical/Mechanical/Plumbing
• Surveying
• Traffic
• Building Architect
• Landscape Architect

Project Attachments:

Marina Park is situated next to the Newport Harbor, which inspired its nautical theme throughout.  Features include:

• Unique 24,000 Community and Sailing Center Building with sweeping view on Newport harbor.
• A 71-foot iconic simulated lighthouse tower that houses the Balboa Peninsula’s tsunami warning system and other City communication devices.
• A complementing lighthouse playground feature with restroom structure and slide that also serves as Newport Harbor lookout point.
• A nautical-themed children’s playground area with marine-based interpretative signage.
• Basketball half-courts, picnic areas with shade structures, barbeques
• An aluminum standing-seam roof system that is inspired by a sail.
• Two instructional sailing basins for students of all ages learning to navigate the Newport Harbor.
• A 23-slip visitor vessel serving marina that features all the modern marina amenities.
• Two large multi-purpose rooms constructed with accordion-folding nano doors leading to an outdoor deck that allows visitors to take advantage of the bay breeze and views.
• Lighthouse Café (privately operated) that provides both indoor/outdoor seating with a breathtaking backdrop of the Newport Harbor and Marina Park.
• Future Site of the Orange County Girl Scouts “Leadership Center”.

A must visit project to get the real feel and community value!

The Marina Park project was designed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind.  Key elements include:

• Drought-tolerant landscaping with a water-efficient irrigation system. 
• Low-flow toilets, sinks, and shower facilities.
• Water fountains with reusable bottle filling stations.
• Energy-efficient HVAC system.
• On-site detention basin, minimizing off-site runoff.
• Carefully placed operable windows to maximize the ocean and bay breeze, and minimize dependency on the HVAC system.
• LED lighting throughout, with motion detectors and sunlight-harvesting sensors.
• Large skylights and solar-tubes to minimize dependency on interior lighting.
• Bike racks and conveniently located bus stops to encourage alternative modes of transportation.
• Clean marina program.
• Overall 46 percent reduction in water use compared to its previous site usage.

Award Citation::

The Marina Park project features a 10.5-acre site redevelopment that includes 24,000 SF energy-efficient community and sailing center buildings, California’s newest visitor serving marina, and an ample open space park that features extraordinary views of the bay, public beach, nautical –themed playground area and fitness equipment.

Suggested Award Summary:

Marina Park encompasses a 10.5-acre site and includes a new public park; a 24,000-square-foot Community and Sailing Center building; a 23-slip visitor serving marina; a reconstructed public restroom; a freestanding lighthouse playground feature and restroom; a nautical-themed children’s playground; an outdoor fitness circuit; an on-site restaurant; 177-space parking spaces; and the future home of the Girl Scout Leadership Center. 

The park site is located off W. Balboa Boulevard, between 15th and 18th Streets on the Balboa Peninsula.  The City of Newport Beach has owned the property for decades and a mobile home park formerly occupied a large portion of the site.  The park’s development, including planning, permitting and construction, occurred over the past 33 years.

Construction began in December 2013 with an estimated completion in spring 2016 and an “all-in” project cost of $39.5 million.  However, the project was completed ahead of schedule, in December 2015, and under budget with final project costs estimated at $36 million. 

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