San Diego Symphony pushing for 10,000-seat venue in Embarcadero Park

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Port of San Diego officials will consider a plan to permanently house San Diego Symphony Orchestra outdoor performances in a state-of-the-art venue.

The Bayside Performance Park project would construct a 10,000-seat capacity venue in Embarcadero Marina Park South for the symphony's outdoor shows, though, the project's supporters said only six shows would likely reach capacity every year.

Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer said the $45-million venue has been considered for some time to bring bigger artists to San Diego.

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"Over the last three years, we've been looking to expand the level of artists we bring perform with our orchestra," Gilmer said. "This also will allow us to break into other genres and just have a premier experience on the bayside."

The site has been used since 2004 for the organization's Bayside Summer Nights, formerly Summer Pops, concert series. Every year, symphony officials assemble and disassemble a music festival-style venue, bathrooms, concessions, and more at the park site.

The project would "enhance other amenities" in the surrounding park area in addition to adding the venue.

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"One thing about this structure is its very environmentally light," Gilmer said. "We really wanted to keep this as light and organic to the site as possible.

"All of those things that are part of the park today and will remain part of the park."

Features include:

  • A 13,000 square-foot performance facility, including a bay viewing deck at the back of the stage for public use during non-event hours,
  • Sound amplification that allows for sound to be focused in order to minimize sound bleed,
  • Sand-based synthetic turf in the main seating area and pre-event spaces,
  • Temporary seating on lawns open to the public during non-event hours,
  • 62 public restrooms, and
  • A public promenade around the venue open to the public at all times.

San Diego Symphony said the stage will be housed under an acoustically-engineered shell designed to focus sound at the audience.

"It will be a natural sound of the orchestra and mixer," according to Gilmer. "In the new system that means it's really focused on the people really listening to it."

With new technology comes concerns of how neighbors will be affected. Namely, will residents across the bay be impacted?

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Gilmer said they have worked with Coronado to take concerns into account. They plan to install two monitors across the bay to measure whether sounds are impacting residents.

"That's a really important thing for people to know. We want to be good neighbors," Gilmer said. "That was one of the considerations that got top priority from us."

A request to the City of Coronado for comment was not immediately returned. 

The Port of San Diego will consider the plan's final environmental report at a January 9 meeting. The California Coastal Commission has yet to approve the project.

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