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San Diego Symphony's new bayside venue clears last hurdle before build

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San Diego Symphony pushes for permanent venue
San Diego Symphony pushes for permanent venue
Posted at 4:21 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 19:21:35-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The San Diego Symphony has overcome the last major obstacle to a permanent home along San Diego's waterfront.

The Port of San Diego's Board of Commissioners has granted a 15-year lease for the Symphony's Bayside Performance Park project. The project will see the construction of a seashell-shaped concert venue at Embarcadero Marina Park South, as well as various improvements to the surrounding park.

The lease also includes four options allowing the Symphony to extend their lease up to 50 years.

The San Diego Symphony will invest a minimum of $45 million toward those improvements, including 66 new restrooms, expansion of the current promenade, and improvements to the park's existing basketball courts and exercise equipment.

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“We’re confident concert-goers will love the improved access and state-of-the art stage and sound system, and bayfront visitors will love the new and improved park,” said Board Chairman Garry Bonelli.

The Symphony could begin construction of the venue as soon as September. It wasn't immediately clear when the venue would open.

A permanent concert venue for the symphony has been on the organization's wish list for years now. Since 2004, the Symphony has had to assemble and disassemble its temporary venue for its Bayside Summer Nights concert series.

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The Port says the park will be open to the public 85% of the year, while the other 15% will be reserved for paid admission or rental events. The permanent concert stage will also provide four free public events each year.

"Our hope is that it will become a coastal destination for everyone, and an iconic landmark for the region and its coastline," said Martha Gilmer, San Diego Symphony CEO.

The park's landscape will also change, with the Symphony adding a sloped lawn with temporary seating open to the public during non-event hours. A dining and retail pavilion will also be installed, according to the port.

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In 2018, Gilmer added that the range of artists could also expand with a new Embarcadero facility.

"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."

As part of the project, the Syphony will also make a financial contribution toward the future expansion of Pepper Park in National City.