The Los Angeles Harbor Commission moved forward Thursday on plans for the first in a series of demolitions that will pave the way for a major overhaul of the Ports of Call waterfront district.

The commission approved a coastal development permit for the removal of 92 marina slips at Berths 80-83 and a mostly unused building nearby during its regular meeting.

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The San Pedro waterfront dining and shopping destination famous for its fish market has grown run-down since it was built as a faux New England fishing village in 1963. In May, the commission approved a $150 million overhaul of the 30-acre location by Ratkovitch Co. and Jerico Development to transform it into the San Pedro Public Market, which could include retail, restaurants, a ferris wheel, a carousel and a discovery sea park.

The first section targeted for demolition at the north end of Ports of Call is a “vital piece” of the project, said Michael J. Galvin, director of Waterfront and Commercial Real Estate for the Port of Los Angeles. Most of the marina slips have been vacated, he said, and port officials have determined there are enough available slips in the area that boat owners won’t be significantly displaced.

“That is sort of the gateway area there and an important area to clean up the site for development,” Galvin said.

Demolition is expected in the next couple of months, with infrastructure improvements by the port planned to start in November, Galvin said. Eventually, all of the Ports of Call buildings will be demolished, he said, though the fish market will remain in one of the new structures.

While already approved in concept, the final design needs to be OK’d by the commission, Galvin said. The developers are expected to start construction by mid-2018, he said.

Trade, transportation, and manufacturing reporter Paul Eakins can be reached at peakins@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @Pauleakins.

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