At the end of its lease in 2018, San Diego’s iconic Seaport Village will cease to be and plans for redevelopment are underway.
Seaport Village is a landmark tourist spot located in Downtown San Diego. Positioned on the bank of the Coronado Bay, tourists frequent Seaport for the views of the city, access to ferry and trolley rides, and the multitude of small business shops that have been native to the area forty years ago when the village opened.
Plans for redeveloping the land at the end of contract next year has attracted natural pushback from the small businesses who currently reside in Seaport. The Save Seaport Village campaign was created and actively advocated by Seaport Village business owners, Chris and Annie Glenn, who currently have five shops in the village.
Save Seaport Village was advocated as a platform for people to petition for the village to stay the same via social media and local following. However, the petition has not been enough to sway The Port of San Diego, in charge of all decisions made in Seaport Village as well as the other coastal cities and attractions along the ports of San Diego.
“The prospect for the land is being looked through new glasses — and glasses, I think, that have a better prescription and therefore sharper vision,” said Port commissioner and board member Bob Nelson.
Developers had been expressing interest in taking on Seaport Village long before it was even taken to The Port because of the money that can be capitalized on the space.
Seaport currently generates roughly $2.5 million annually and the new financing plan under the accepted redevelopment model would offer $3 million annually, with a small annual bump each year proceeding year ten. The idea is that this change will not only bring in greater revenue for the village, but also a radical new addition to the San Diego skyline.
Upon asking developers to submit ideas about how to better utilize public property in 2015, The Port began entertaining a new development plan. A room was occupied in the Convention Center in summer of 2016, open to a public panel displaying different models for Seaport in years to come.
Commissioners and the public narrowed in the new model for Seaport including a beach, aquarium, a new outdoor promenade, a hotel, and retail space. In addition, a 500-foot observation tower, referred to as “the Spire” will be erected on the land.
While many of the existing sixty small businesses within the village have already begun the process of vacating before the new project breaks ground next year, Port commissioners have agreed to incorporate old Seaport into the new construction. It is planned to designate much of the available retail space in the renovation plans towards existing Seaport shops and business owners.
Co-owner of five shops in the Seaport Village area, Annie Glenn says that owners are not opposed to growth.
“We feel it’s very important for these developers make Seaport better than it already is,” said Glenn. “They can include it in a portion of the renovation, but they just need to realize and acknowledge how important that piece of property is to San Diego.”
Operations manager of Seaport administration Blake Pattie adds, “It might be time to take a fresh look at the potential for the area and that’s where we’re headed. We’re trying to establish a clean slate, hit the reset button and if that means developing a new vision for the village, we’re hopeful for what that means.”
Glenn says the general consensus among Seaport shop owners is that redevelopment will be overall beneficial for San Diego. Renovation to the land can be rebuilt, however the hope is that Seaport is still in some ways incorporated into the remodel.