SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Seaport Village is seeing a bounce back in foot traffic now that the most stringent of coronavirus-related restrictions have eased.
Port of San Diego officials say in the last month, 39,661 people came to the coastal shopping mall. That's more than double the 16,606 people that came through the center in the month after the shutdown order took effect March 13.
The port took over management of Seaport Village about two years ago and invested more than $2 million to spruce it up, create more in-person events, and add new tenants. The idea was to reverse the decline in the village, which had seen numerous closures. Ultimately, the port plans to redevelop the property with a hotel, office space, an aquarium, and a spire.
"We're really just doing our best to set it up for the future, for us this is the perfect opportunity with all of the interest that we've gotten," said Lucy Contreras, a program manager in the Port's real estate division.
In the last year, the Port has signed leases with Geppetto's, Spill the Beans Coffee, Mr. Moto Pizza House, Sam the Cooking Guy for a restaurant, and a Mike Hess Brewing tasting room combined with City Tacos.
The duo already has a location in Imperial Beach and will take over a former restaurant spot on the center's western edge overlooking the bay.
"Ever since then, and that's been like three and a half years, you tell people we're doing beer and tacos on the beach, beer and tacos on the water, nobody thinks that's a bad idea," Hess said.
On Friday, the port signed a lease with the Malibu Farm restaurant for a Seaport Village location.
The mall, which canceled many in-person events during the shutdown, started once again offering live music two weeks ago. It also has balcony concerts every Thursday and Saturday.
While the foot traffic has increased, it is still down from pre-COVID-19 levels. From February to March 2020, the month before the pandemic hit, the port says 56,516 people came to Seaport Village.
The full redevelopment is still at least five years away.