Port of San Diego authorizes major investment in Seaport Village ahead of ongoing transformation effort

seaport village san diego

The Port of San Diego plans to invest $2.2 million in improvements and upgrades to enhance the existing Seaport Village experience, following a Feb. 12 unanimous vote by Port Commissioners. The funds will support site enhancements, deferred maintenance and new experiential features at the 39-year-old retail center.

“This is exactly the kind of ‘Renaissance on the Bay’ I’d like to see,” port chairman Garry Bonelli said at the hearing. “Thanks to the collaboration between Port staff and the Seaport San Diego team, our visitors and tenants at Seaport Village will be engaged as we reimagine the Central Embarcadero.”

Seaport Village is open for business while planning work continues on the Seaport San Diego project, a major redevelopment by 1HWY1 of all 70-acres of the Central Embarcadero, including the existing 14-acre Seaport Village site. The final plan for this transformative project is anticipated to be completed by late 2019.

“This is a defensive and offensive strategy,” port commissioner Dan Malcolm said during the meeting. “We want to keep our existing tenants and we want to attract new tenants and new activation…When I see the ideas presented today – performing arts and craft beer – just with a little bit of intentionality we can turn a sleepy area into something very exciting. This is about getting more people down there, and really setting the stage for the largest development we’ve ever done in San Diego. It’s really the right thing to do.”

“The port’s support of these enhancements and activation activity is a testament to their forward-thinking approach to the entire waterfront,” said Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen, CEO of 1HWY1, which is leading the Seaport San Diego redevelopment effort. “Investing in trying new creative and unique experiences now will help us to inform the final plans for Seaport San Diego based on what locals and visitors most want from the site.”

The new investment in Seaport Village will support local small businesses at the site with expanded marketing and improved on-site operations while they await the upcoming transition period. Port of San Diego staff recommended the investment to increase revenues, secure tenancies and enhance the visitor experience at Seaport Village in its current form.

The port is expected to allocate the following funds later this year:

  • $700,000 for deferred maintenance and tenant attraction and retention.
  • $999,587 in site enhancements such as painting, landscaping and new lighting.
  • $537,600 in activation and programing.

These new activation funds will bring new experiential elements to Seaport Village through events, partnerships and curated operators on-site.

Interim activation, and the community engagement it generates, is a key component of the Seaport San Diego long-range-redevelopment plan. The team will be testing new concepts in experiential retail and placemaking as it finalizes plans for the site’s future. Examples of these activations and interventions include family-geared interactive areas, local museum programs, STEAM education, blue-tech learning resources, public gatherings, live performances, curated food/beverage experiences and art installations.

The Port of San Diego assumed ownership of Seaport Village in October of 2018 and contracted with Protea Property Management to oversee the property during this interim period before redevelopment. The Seaport San Diego team has since begun to update the property’s brand position and marketing to support its retail tenants.


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