Changes in store for Seaport Village?

Posted at 7:56 PM, Dec 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-08 22:56:52-05

The Port of San Diego's Board of Commissioners Tuesday unanimously directed city staff to solicit ideas for the future of a section of the downtown waterfront that includes Seaport Village, Tuna Harbor and Embarcadero Marina Park North.

Leases for Seaport Village and the Chesapeake Fish Company -- a seafood provider to restaurants -- are up in 2018, providing what a staff report calls "a unique opportunity to craft dynamic connections to the waterfront."

The various parcels include around 40 acres of land and 30 acres of water, "with tremendous potential to become the signature waterfront destination for San Diego, capitalizing on the surrounding amenities such as prime bay views and waterfront access, as well as proximity to downtown San Diego, the San Diego Convention Center, cruise ship terminals, waterfront museums and attractions, the South Embarcadero and North Embarcadero," the report said.

The port and city of San Diego recently completed an overhaul of the North Embarcadero to make it more attractive and pedestrian-friendly.

The agency has also taken advantage of expiring leases to seek out improvements. Last month, the port awarded a waterfront restaurant lease that had been held by Anthony's Seafood Grotto for 50 years to The Brigantine Inc., which plans to extensively renovate the building.

The 13-acre Seaport Village has been a major downtown tourist attraction since 1980, boasting nearly 20 eateries and more than 50 specialty shops in a grouping of quaint buildings beside the bay. An extensive renovation project proposed by Seaport Village operator Terramar was rejected by the commissioners in October because it wouldn't increase revenue to the port.

The Fish Market restaurant and The Headquarters eatery and shopping center -- both within the affected Central Embarcadero area -- will not be included in a prospective redevelopment project because their leases run to 2028 and 2052, respectively.

Staff will solicit potential ideas from developers, builders, investors and other companies that could potentially bid on a waterfront project. Staff will also reach out to the public, city and county of San Diego, and to fishermen.