The Newport Harbor Yacht Club is finally moving forward with the construction of its new clubhouse after more than four years of wrangling with local and state officials over its impacts to the marine environment in Newport Bay.
The California Coastal Commission approved the club’s application for the clubhouse, albeit with 20 special conditions, at its March 10 meeting.
Staff Commodore Tim Collins hopes to start demolition of the 97-year-old clubhouse at 720 West Bay Ave. in January 2017 and complete construction of the roughly 23,000-square-foot new clubhouse by Summer 2008.
The new clubhouse has been designed in a similar style as its predecessor. Trophies and other artifacts will be included in the interior decoration to honor the club’s history.
“We want members to feel that we have a facility that meets the future expectations of members but also preserves the past,” Collins said.
To keep its waterfront active during construction, the club is negotiating a long-term lease with Hornblower Cruises & Events for an 80-foot charter boat to house its dining operation and other events. Temporary buildings on its east boatyard will accommodate the club’s management and food preparation.
Among the main challenges facing the existing clubhouse is that the foundation has reached the end of its useful life. The floor of the new clubhouse will be raised 22 inches to accommodate for rising tide levels.
The Newport Harbor Yacht Club has had to replace sandbags nearly every year and called in large vacuums to cope with the king tide, Collins said. It has also had to replace hardwood floors.
“We won’t miss the sandbagging days,” Collins said.
Part of what took this project so long to get underway are the many technical studies the club had to commission. It’s coastal hazards analysis estimated that the new clubhouse would not be flooded under a mid-range sea level rise of 36 inches by 2090. If flooding gets more severe than anticipated, its bulkhead has been engineered to accommodate an additional six-inch cap.
Collins said he and his fellow members aspire to achieve a gold certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design partly by grinding up existing concrete and reusing it on the new project. Wood from the old clubhouse will be sent to a recycler.
The club orchestrated the construction timeline so its clubhouse won’t be out of commission for two consecutive summers, its busiest time of the year.
“We want the members to feel comfortable and that they’ve come home,” Collins said.