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Marina del Rey Development Rose Out of Mud

First Of Two Parts

November 12, 1989

In the beginning, there was mud.

That is until Los Angeles County carved out the largest man-made small-craft harbor in the world from tidal flats near the mouth of Ballona Creek.

They called it Marina del Rey.

In the winter of 1962-63, while it was still under construction, devastating storms sent waves crashing into the new harbor, prompting construction of a massive breakwater.

The marina was completed in April, 1965, a dozen years after the Board of Supervisors received an initial $2-million loan from the state to purchase the property.

Altogether, $36 million in local, state and federal funds were invested in building the marina channel, jetties, breakwater, boat basins and road system.

Today, the entire 804-acre area is publicly owned, but the hotels, apartments, condominiums, restaurants, shops, offices and boat slips were developed privately.

Businesses there operate on long-term, mostly 60-year leases, that can be bought and sold like traditional real estate. The county receives basic rent plus a percentage of the gross receipts. Altogether, the marina contributed $16.4 million to the county treasury last year.

The marina's largest leaseholder is Abraham M. Lurie and his new partners, a secretive group of Middle Eastern investors. Together, they control 16% of the marina acreage, including three hotels, two apartment complexes, restaurants, shops, offices and more than 1,000 boat slips.

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