The Port of San Diego’s board of port commissioners has granted a lease for the San Diego Symphony Orchestra Association’s Bayside Performance Park project, a significant milestone in the symphony’s efforts to build a permanent facility on the San Diego Bayfront.
A “park within a park,” the project will include the construction of a new performance venue to be operated by the symphony as well as park improvements in the port’s Embarcadero Marina Park South behind the San Diego Convention Center.
“The San Diego Symphony is investing a minimum of $45 million in improvements, including many public amenities and better performance facilities, creating a new, year-round attraction on the San Diego Bay waterfront. 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 Garry Bonelli, chairman of the board of port commissioners.
The approved lease, with an initial 15-year term and four options to extend for a total of up to 50 years, allows the symphony to operate the Bayside Performance Park for concerts and events, while maintaining public access to most of Embarcadero Marina Park South the majority of the year.
Components of the Bayside Performance Park Project include: a performance stage covered by a tensile structure with superior sound quality—the design complements the design of the Convention Center and downtown skyline.
A signature feature of the design is the sunset steps at the back of the performance stage. During non-event hours, the sunset steps will be an additional viewing platform for the public. There will also be sloped lawn with temporary/removable seating open to the public during non-event hours.
Other features include new, permanent restrooms, a dining and retail pavilion, environmentally sensitive landscaping and lighting and other public amenities.
The plan includes a widened public promenade around the venue (from 8 to 12 feet) that will remain open to the general public, including during event hours, a visual public art element to be illuminated from within and visible from the exterior of the acoustic shell and refurbishment and/or replacement of existing benches, the basketball courts and exercise equipment, gazebo, lighting and restrooms.
The symphony is expected to begin construction as early as September.