Portside Ventura Harbor Breaks Ground

The Ventura Port District Board of Port Commissioners has given a green light to the first new major development at Ventura Harbor in three decades, approving an exciting plan to build waterfront apartments, commercial space, a waterfront park and a marina, among other great amenities for public use.

In November 2016, ground was broken on the 26-acre Portside Ventura Harbor mixed-use project. Portside Ventura Harbor is projected to take three years to build and the first apartment units are anticipated to be available a year and half into construction, said developer Michael Sondermann.

Portside Ventura Harbor is expected to be a catalyst for the Harbor and the city as it will bring attractive, new recreation and open-space amenities to the public, support existing Harbor businesses and boost tax revenue.

Plans call for 300 residential housing units including 270 apartments and 30 live/work spaces; 21,200 square-feet of commercial and retail space on the ground floor; a new recreational marina with 104 boat slips; a water taxi stop; a two-acre public waterfront park; a 50-foot wide waterfront, a public-access promenade; a public dock for personal watercraft like kayaks and paddle boards; and plenty of parking.

Benefits to the community include:

  • Expanded marina facilities at Ventura Harbor
  • Greater recreational opportunities for residents and visitors
  • A new water taxi service connecting Portside Ventura Harbor, Harbor Village and other destinations in the Harbor
  • Increased revenue for existing Port District businesses, stores and restaurants at Harbor Village
  • New waterfront rental housing opportunities
  • Upscale waterfront housing

“This will create a tremendous synergy in the Harbor area,” said Port District Board Chairman Jim Friedman, a former Ventura city councilmember and mayor. “For me it’s particularly rewarding and exciting because I was on the City Council when the project was first brought to the city. This project has come full circle. The same can be said for Commissioner Brian Brennan, who was on the council with me in 2000 and is now on the Port District Board.”

Friedman continued, “This type of housing is fairly unique in Ventura. It will be higher-end apartments with unbelievable Harbor and ocean views. It’s going to create it’s own little economy in that you now have several hundred people living there, close to services.” And, he added, “The city can always use more park space. The unique location of this project makes whatever you put there very desirable. You are literally surrounded by water.”

The cost for Portside Ventura Harbor will be almost $93 million, Sondermann said. “I’m very excited to finally commence construction and deliver on the commitment we made to bring this long overdue project to the community, the city and the Port District. This will add a lot of new energy to Ventura Harbor,” Sondermann said.
The Ventura Port District commissioners voted for unanimous approval at their board meeting on Oct. 5. The development, initially called the Sondermann-Ring project, was first proposed to the Port District in 2000 and an agreement was negotiated in 2002, but the project had to go through a lengthy and complicated approval process involving multiple public agencies, including the California Coastal Commission.

Oscar Peña, General Manager of the Ventura Port District, said income from Portside Ventura Harbor ensures long-term economic viability for the Port District and will allow the District to continue offering exceptional public service.

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