The Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has voted to advance the San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Performance Park project, a “park within a park” that will include park improvements and a new performance venue in the Port’s Embarcadero Marina Park South on the San Diego Bay waterfront, according to a release from a representative of the Port of San Diego.
According to the release, at its December 11, 2018, meeting, the Port Board adopted a certified Port Master Plan Amendment (PMPA) that is required for the project in order to address public access, programming, park mitigation, lighting, and sea-level-rise adaptations. The Board also approved the project concept and authorized issuance of a conditional, non-appealable Coastal Development Permit to the Symphony.
The statement says the project involves constructing and operating a permanent outdoor performance and event venue on approximately one-third of Embarcadero Marina Park South, which is located behind the San Diego Convention Center. Since 2004, the Symphony has assembled and disassembled a temporary venue in the park for its Bayside Summer Nights concert series. The permanent venue would function as a “park within a park” and would remain open to the general public for 85 percent of the year, with programming involving paid admission or rental events to be limited to 15 percent of the year.
According to the release, components of the projects include:
• The shell will be wrapped in an architectural fabric that will provide superior sound quality with controlled amplification allowing for the sound to be focused, minimizing sound bleed. Additionally, the fabric will aesthetically complement the design of the Convention Center and Downtown skyline.
• A new bay viewing deck at the back of the performance stage for general public use during non-event hours;
• Sloped lawn with temporary/removable seating open to the public during non-event hours;
• New, permanent restrooms; a dining and retail pavilion; environmentally-sensitive landscaping and lighting; and other public amenities;
• Widened public promenade around the venue (from 8 to 12 feet) that will remain open to the general public, including during event hours;
• 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.
Additional public benefits include:
• Four free public events each year, two of which would occur during the summer months, Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day;
• Free admission to rehearsals;
• Free public educational events;
• Reduced ticket pricing; and
• A financial contribution by the Symphony toward a future expansion of Pepper Park in National City.
Next steps include final acceptance of the PMPA by the California Coastal Commission, which voted unanimously to certify the PMPA on November 8, 2018, and Board approval of a lease between the Port and the Symphony.