North Beach Construction Update


The beach cottages of Crystal Cove State Park’s Historic District are one of Southern California’s most iconic destinations, giving visitors a glimpse into simpler times along the California coast. Today, twenty-nine of the forty-six cottages have been fully restored and are open to visitors and producing revenue to support the Conservancy’s education programs and maintenance of the Historic District. They’ve become a national model for low-cost accommodations and our education programs have become a statewide model for social enterprise and STEM education. As we continue to restore and open cottages to the public, more people from all backgrounds will have access to one of California’s most coveted retreats while serving more students in our education programs than ever before.

The Heritage Legacy Project for California aims to restore the seventeen remaining cottages on the North Beach at Crystal Cove State Park and will complete the vision for the Park, create a sustainable revenue stream to support conservation and education efforts in the park, and result in an additional twenty-two affordable overnight rental units coming online. One of these last seventeen cottages, designed to operate as a hostel-style dorm will host overnight coastal engineering programs for underserved high school students from around Southern California. With our partners at University of California Irvine, we will be educating and inspiring students from inland and underserved communities about the challenges of sea level rise and future coastal change as they sleep mere feet from the ocean.

Over the last six months, construction continues on time and on budget. The North Beach construction work has been ongoing for 15 months, and during this period the primary work has been concentrated on hillside slide protection which included retaining walls and subsurface caissons. This will protect the cottages and their occupants from potential future slides while protecting the fragile habitat in which they sit. Thus far, $6.4M has been invested in this activity to ensure the project is safe for use.  In addition, because the project has operated under budget, we’ve been able to add improvements to the check-in parking lot to the schedule and have completed work on that expansion which doubled the number of available spaces to thirty-three.

It’s now estimated that the infrastructure portion of the project will be complete by June 30, 2020, and during the next five months, the last months of the project, we will be focused on constructing the 650-foot elevated pathway and boardwalk, which is estimated to cost about $1.7M. At the same time, the contractors will be busy installing the balance of the utilities and finishing the final grading of North Beach Road.

The project, in all respects, continues on track and as expected, and we continue to raise additional funds to support the second phase, the restoration phase, of the project. We’ve thus far identified approximately $12M of the needed $28M to complete the project. These funds are primarily state government funding, including $2.9M from the state’s general fund, requested by Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris and $2M from our longtime partners the California State Coastal Conservancy. This will provide sufficient funds to maintain the momentum of the project and as a result, we expect that the restoration phase of the project will begin in late summer or early fall of 2020 and last approximately three years. In the meantime, we continue to work to secure the remaining funds necessary to complete the project and restore and preserve the final 17 cottages on the North Beach.

To our North Beach donors and pledgemakers – you have our most heartfelt thanks. Without your support this project might still be in the planning stages rather than closing in on the completion of the first phase of the project. We couldn’t do it without you and remain both grateful and humbled by your generous support.


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