By DAVE SCHWAB | Downtown News
Plans to give Seaport Village a huge, distinctively San Diego “makeover” are still in play, though it’s taking longer than anticipated.
“A project of this size and nature doesn’t just happen — it evolves over time,” said Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen, managing partner of Protea Waterfront Development, the team behind Seaport San Diego, a re-imagining of the 39-year-old, 90,000-square-foot Seaport Village waterfront shopping and dining complex.
“Our vision is to create a vibrant, experimental-based attraction near the water,” said Gaffen. “Our goal is for this to be a legacy project for more than just San Diego, that’s going to be transformational for the whole West Coast.”
Years in the making, the long-term Seaport Village redevelopment’s two major new attractions, an aquarium and an observational spire and platform, continue to anchor the project.
However, Gaffen noted there have been “enhancements” made to the overall project concept, which now includes construction of three, brand-new full-service hotels as well as a “new generation” student hostel. The hostel will have beds in shared rooms offering travelers less-expensive accommodations.
Another new feature of revitalizing Seaport Village will be the introduction of a “butterfly wonderland.” Gaffen said that project is based on an existing butterfly exhibition in Scottsdale, Arizona, which he described as “a magical, educational and entertaining experience for both kids and adults.”
Additionally, Gaffen noted the number of hotels in the project has now grown from three up to as many as six.
Meanwhile, the transition from old to new at Seaport Village continues. In October 2018, the Port of San Diego became the owner/landlord of Seaport Village, with Protea Property Management, Inc. (Protea) managing and operating the shopping and dining center for the Port.
“Working in close collaboration with our partners, the Port of San Diego is revitalizing and enhancing the experience at Seaport Village for residents, visitors and the businesses that operate within it,” said Garry Bonelli, San Diego Board of Port Commissioners chair. “Our goal is to create excitement and energy within Seaport Village, and also strengthen our relationships with our tenants while maximizing revenues for the public’s benefit.”
A little market, some big boats, and a $2 billion project are poised to revive San Diego’s commercial fishing industry
“The beginning was tough—they didn’t trust us,” says Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen, CEO of Protea Waterfront Development, referring to San Diego’s fishermen and women. “For decades they’ve been discriminated against and business has been taken away from them. People take advantage of them.”
Gaffen and his company have won the bid to redevelop the San Diego harbor. Their $2 billion “Seaport San Diego” plan will historically alter the future of the city’s waterfront—70 acres, to be almost exact. The fate of local fishers lies largely in his hands.
And a little fish market on a little dock may be the reason both Gaffen and the fishers themselves are so keenly aware of their vital importance.
The Glory DaysThere’s a decent chance San Diego’s fishermen and women have stopped reading this story by now, because it starts with a quote from a developer. Fishers have historically viewed developers as their most feared predator.
In a city like San Diego, the water’s edge is the gold vein, the bounty, the most valuable thing. And while many players are involved—the San Diego Unified Port District, the California Coastal Commission, the people of San Diego (who own the land)—the fight over it usually boils down to fishers versus developers. Boats versus hotels. Bait versus brunch.
Tuna Harbor—located at the end of G Street, sharing a parking lot with the Fish Market restaurant, the USS Midway, and the American Tuna Boat Association—is one of two remaining spots along San Diego Bay dedicated to commercial fishing (the other is Driscoll’s Wharf). Longtime San Diego fisherman David Haworth stands on the edge and points at things. To parking spots that read “Reserved for Commercial Fishermen.”
To the swarm of pedestrians and tour buses clogging the lot. To an aging dock where lobster traps and nets are stacked like a working-class art installation. To the 100 or so boats, where men with reptilian skin tanned like news anchors repair, well, everything.
From NBC 7 San Diego
Ambitious plans to redevelop Seaport Village will affect one of San Diego's oldest industries -- fishing. NBC 7's May Tjoa has more. (Published Sunday, Jul 28, 2019)
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) proposes a 500-foot cylindrical observation tower for San Diego’s waterfront as part of the $2.4 billion Seaport San Diego project
The San Diego Union-Tribune announced the observation tower, which will be part of 1HWY1’s redevelopment of the Central Embarcadero.
BIG’s hourglass-shaped tower takes inspiration from San Diego’s indoor-outdoor culture, with a stack of spinning discs at various vantage points.
The 70-acre Seaport San Diego project includes hotels, a 170,822-square-foot aquarium, 261,411 square feet of retail space, as well as office and leisure spaces.
‘Vertical aquarium’ in the observation tower
Lasiter added: “Our major concern is that the existing development down at Seaport Village right now is easily accessible for a wide range of incomes.
“There’s a lot of passive space, and anyone can go to Seaport Village and walk around. With the redevelopment, it might not be that way. Our focus is the public’s ability to recreate there at low or no cost.”
BY ANDY KNAGGS
A 170,000sq ft (51,816sq m) vertical aquarium is one of the ideas being considered for a proposed 500ft-high (152m) observation tower at the centre of a development project on the California coast at San Diego.
Seaport San Diego, a US$2.4bn (€2.15bn, £1.93bn) scheme that encompasses 70 acres of land and water along Harbor Drive, is currently in the initial planning stages with developers 1HWY1 and architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).
The vertical aquarium, which would span the entire height of the tower, and would emulate the varying depths of the ocean, is just one of several ideas being floated for the tower. Others include a butterfly exhibit, a high level scrambling net, a wind garden, and an outdoor auditorium for basking in the clouds.
The lower levels of the tower would house hotels, retail and F&B.
Designed by BIG, the tower is intended to be an internationally iconic piece of architecture for San Diego – something many feel the city currently lacks. Its design is eye-catching: a cylindrical tower with an hourglass figure, centring around what appears to be a stack of spinning discs, evoking different images and impressions at varying elevations and vantage points.
By Jennifer Van Grove, The San Diego Union-Tribune - A proposed observation tower at the edge of Pacific Highway is a polarizing symbol of change that could make or break the larger, $2.4 billion redevelopment effort planned for downtown’s Central Embarcadero.
In some circles there is a sense that San Diego is missing an internationally recognizable calling card, as in a postcard-worthy — or in today’s vernacular, Instagrammable — destination that shouts, “Visit me.” The cylindrical tower with a cinched waist that is being touted as the high-flying replacement to a flat-by-comparison Seaport Village could change that.
That is, if California allows it.
A jaw-dropping symbol of change for the bayfront area that makes up downtown’s Central Embarcadero, the 500-foot tower is being heralded by developer 1HWY1 as the architectural focal point of its massive $2.4 billion Seaport San Diego project. Its location, where the bay ends and Pacific Highway begins, makes it geographically significant as well.
By Jim Parsons, Engineering News-Record - An industry-wide sellers’ market helped fuel record-setting merger-and-acquisition activity among engineering and construction firms in 2018, enabling buyers to better adapt to multiple trends reshaping the industry.
According to a recently released trends survey by FMI Capital Advisors Inc., the 534 industry transactions announced last year surpassed the previous record, set in 2015, by nearly 22%. The timing was right for such torrid activity, explains FMI Managing Director Alex Miller, particularly given the large “demographic backlog” of willing sellers.
“Many baby boomer owners who put off retirement because of the recession saw the current strong market as a good time to exit,” Miller explains.
Buyers were likewise plentiful, with heightened demand for technical expertise joining growth and service expansion as primary acquisition drivers, the survey found. “If you’re not growing, you struggle to create opportunities for people and retain talent,” says Dan Pleasant, COO of Fairfax, Va.-based Dewberry, which has made multiple acquisitions of regional engineering firms in recent years, including last year’s purchase of J3 Engineering Consultants Inc., Greenwood Village, Colo.
Pleasant says that while a primarily organic strategy tends to be easier for smaller companies, there comes a point where sustaining that pace requires a firm to look outward. Dewberry applies both approaches, he says, with approximately 40% of its recent growth coming via “strategic” acquisitions aimed at a particular region, market sector or service line
Canh Tran, program manager for Seaport San Diego, shares his inspiring life story, reflecting on his family's decision to flee Vietnam for the U.S. as he speaks on the importance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
By Jennifer Van Grove, The San Diego Union-Tribune - Don’t forget about Seaport Village. That’s the message the Port of San Diego, which owns the 14-acre site, hopes to convey to the public through millions in right-here, right-now upgrades to the dated, waterfront retail center.
Tuesday, the Board of Port Commissioners voted unanimously to spend more than $2 million on overdue site work, improvements to the village’s open spaces and a variety of entertainment features. The immediate allowances come as developer 1HWY1 works through the specifics of a $2-billion overhaul of Seaport Village and adjacent properties that will take at least five years to come to fruition.
Port of San Diego authorizes major investment in Seaport Village ahead of ongoing transformation effort
For Immediate Release - The Port of San Diego plans to invest $2.2 million in improvements and upgrades to enhance the existing Seaport Village experience, following Tuesday’s 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 Tuesday 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.”