Proposal to Revitalize Fisherman’s Wharf at Channel Islands Harbor Moves One Step Forward

A proposal to revitalize Fisherman’s Wharf into a visitor-serving center, Karls Adventure Village, has moved one step closer to coming to fruition.

At its April 25, 2023 meeting, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved and authorized the Ventura County Harbor Department to enter an Exclusive Right to Negotiate (ERN) with Robert Dahl, a German-based strawberry farmer and developer. In 1992, Dahl founded the flagship Karl’s Adventure Village and has since expanded operations to 7 other locations in Germany.

Harbor Department Director Michael Tripp said the 12-month ERN allows Dahl’s development team the time to form its ownership entity, begin design and construction analysis, work with the community to gather more feedback regarding features of the project, and secure funding and negotiate terms of long-term lease agreement with the County. At the end of the ERN period, the Karl’s team should have a specific project plan to present to the Harbor Department, Board of Supervisors and California Coastal Commission for approval.

“The Harbor Department couldn’t be more pleased with the Board of Supervisors’ decision to allow Robert Dahl’s team to move forward with developing this exciting new plan for Fisherman’s Wharf,” Director Tripp said. “We would like to thank Karls for its extensive community outreach efforts so far and expect more of the same as the process moves forward.”

Karls Adventure Village at the Channel Islands Harbor would refurbish existing buildings and create new structures that would include restaurants, a specialty market, gift shops, toy and book shops, a coffee shop, public promenades, playgrounds, park areas, small children’s rides, as well as a potential small hotel.

“We imagine that a Karl’s village at the Channel Islands Harbor would revitalize the wharf area with dining, retail, recreation, and entertainment activities for people of all ages and families of all economic backgrounds,” Robert Dahl said. “Our goal is to create a lively space that creates value along the water.”

Director Tripp said a variety of factors contributed to the Harbor Department’s recommendation, which followed a Request for Proposals (RFP) period, a public meeting to seek feedback from the public regarding three developers to redevelop Fisherman’s Wharf, and 12 additional public outreach workshops by the Karls team to discuss the proposal and gather feedback.

“Based on their track record of successfully developing properties, which included the reuse of several existing buildings, Dahl’s willingness to conform with current zoning, and the project’s goal of providing low-cost visitor-serving amenities to families of all economic backgrounds, I firmly believe this proposed project will fit well at Fisherman’s Wharf and will be an attraction that generations of families will want to visit for years to come,” Director Tripp said.

For more information about the presentation, please view the video below:

Editor’s Note: this story was published on April 26, 2023.