The plan, put forth by developers Ratkovitch Company (of DTLA’s The Bloc) and Jerico Development, would fully transform 30 acres of space at the waterfront into a Grove-style outdoor mall called the San Pedro Public Market. The new plan would completely change the New-England-style Ports O’ Call Village into a more modern and industrial-looking waterfront, called San Pedro Public Market. The long-awaited redevelopment is seen as a key step in transforming San Pedro’s aging waterfront into a new hip destination that includes dining, music and tourist attractions — all set to the backdrop of the nation’s busiest port.
The collection of Old English, New England and Spanish styled buildings that opened in 1962 have long showed their age. The collection of shops, fish stalls and restaurants prospered until about the 1980s, when it started to decline in part because the nearby Marineland amusement park closure.
Ports O’ Call Village is currently about 20 percent empty right now. The largest attraction is the San Pedro Fish Market, but even they only see a steady flow of visitors on the weekends. Weekdays at Ports O’ Call can be quite desolate. The fish market will stay open during the demolition of Ports O’ Call and construction of the new San Pedro Public Market. When construction is complete, San Pedro Fish Market will move to a new building at the north of the complex and will continue to serve as an anchor of the development where visitors can enjoy their classic trays of seafood by the water. The new location will also feature an upper balcony above the promenade.
The first phase of changes will cover 16 acres of the site and 150,000 square feet of restaurants, shopping, fresh markets, boutique-style office space and more than a half-mile of waterfront promenade. The designs by Tim J. Delaney Design and TFO Architecture show a very San Francisco-style Fisherman’s Wharf-type complex, with large industrial warehouses.
A much anticipated feature for the community and local historians is the return of the Waterfront Red Car! It will be refurbished to run on light rail with a new route throughout the Market. The San Pedro Public Market will also eventually include an open-air event space and year-round event programming, among the variety of restaurants, fresh markets, retail shops, and small offices.
A fleet of rubber-tire trolleys also is planned to carry passengers throughout the wider waterfront and downtown San Pedro area with connections to nearby destinations, including Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles. Visitors can also explore the area on rented bikes from either of the two bike share programs along the waterfront: Metro Bike and LimeBike.
Ratkovich said he wants to create a marketplace on par with the Ferry Building in San Francisco and Pike Place Market in Seattle. Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents San Pedro, said the upcoming project will help the San Pedro waterfront rival those in other cities.
Construction is expected to begin on this segment of the waterfront in 2017, with the new San Pedro Public Market complete in 2020. It’s not clear yet what the second phase of construction will include or when it will start. Ratkovich tells the Times that they’re going to “hold off on the remaining roughly 15 acres” of the Ports O’ Call for now, and that he expects to sign a long-term lease for the whole property in the next couple months. The project will be privately financed by the developers, while the Port of Los Angeles is paying to upgrade the infrastructure in the area.
This is the latest of several big upgrades that have come to the port in recent years. In 2014, a $32-million promenade and outdoor movie screening space opened up on the waterfront. A $125-million revamp of the Cabrillo Way Marina wrapped up in 2011, and the Battleship IOWA opened to visitors a year later. New businesses have popped up too, like the artisan goods marketplace Crafted at the Port of LA, opened in 2012, and the local craft brewery, Brouwerij West, just opened in February 2016 in a historic Navy warehouse.
In all, the port plans to have invested $1 billion by 2026 in sprucing up the waterfront from Wilmington to San Pedro, which has been rebranded the L.A. Waterfront.
Ports O’Call Village
Berth 75 – 79, San Pedro, CA 90731
Update May 2016
The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved a 50-year lease for the new San Pedro Public Market. The lease approval represents a key step toward the first comprehensive redevelopment of the 30-acre site since its original development in the 1960s.
The Port’s obligations under the approved lease include the construction of four public access infrastructure projects: the Sampson Way and 7th Street Intersection Improvements; the Town Square at 6th Street project; the Ports O’ Call Promenade project and the public access dock project for recreational boater use. To date, the Port has invested $600 million in public access and community projects like Wilmington Waterfront Park, the Harbor Blvd. Parkway Promenade, Downtown Harbor and the renovations of Cabrillo Way Marina. It expects to invest $400 million in public access over the next 10 years.
The 50-year lease agreement must next be approved by the Los Angeles City Council. The expected completion date of the redevelopment is 2020.
Update January 2018
On January 25, 2018, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka and Port staff gave an update to the Los Angeles Harbor Commission about the status of the San Pedro Public Market. This video includes the entire presentation, including public comment and remarks from Harbor Commissioners. View the PowerPoint Presentation (PDF) here.