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Major renovation planned for Copley Symphony Hall

220218_Accessible Balcony View (Credit San Diego Symphony and HGA).jpg
Posted at 3:27 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 19:48:36-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Less than a year after changing the face of the waterfront with the Rady Shell, the San Diego Symphony has unveiled an ambitious project to renovate downtown's Copley Symphony Hall.

On Wednesday, the San Diego Symphony released renderings and details of a $125 million project to renovate the 100-year-old venue, built in 1929 as The Fox Theater.

"This is a reinvestment in downtown San Diego and a statement that our community and this orchestra will have two world-class venues for its residence, audience and visitors to our city," San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer said at a news conference Monday.

The project will make a series of acoustic improvements, including new orchestra risers, a turnable acoustic canopy, and a raised choral terrace that will surround the stage. New seats, better sightlines, improved ADA access, and a new air filtration system is also part of the project.

"How do you make something that's old new?" said John Frane, design principal at architectural firm HGA "How do you make it fresh? And also in this space how do we take what was a 1932 entertainment movie palace and turn it into a 2022/2023 symphony hall? No small feat, but we think we've done it."

The demolition phase for the project began in January, with plans to open in late 2023. The symphony is performing temporarily at nine venues across the county, from Chula Vista to Escondido.

Gilmer didn't want to get into specifics of how the project would be funded but said a plan was in place and expressed optimism that many San Diegans would want to be involved.