In a historic milestone for the Chula Vista bayfront, the obsolete South Bay Power Plant is scheduled to be imploded February 2, 2013, weather permitting – which will remove the mammoth structure and open up land that the Port of San Diego and the City of Chula Vista have designated for future public parks.
The implosion is scheduled for 7 a.m., Saturday, February 2, 2013, weather and other conditions permitting. A final decision on whether or not to proceed will be made that morning. The implosion will be carried out only under appropriate weather conditions, including wind speeds of 15 mph or less, as part of a comprehensive plan to protect air and water quality.
Details of the Port of San Diego's public viewing event will be announced in the coming weeks.
"After a banner year for the bayfront in 2012, the implosion of the South Bay Power Plant is an event many Chula Vistans are looking forward to, and an excellent way to begin the new year," said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox. "After the years of hard work that went into the approval of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, the plant's removal will kick start redevelopment plans as we look forward to further progress on what will become a world-class destination for the entire region."
The implosion plan, which includes comprehensive measures to protect public safety, air and water quality, and the environment, is being carried out by the former plant operator, Dynegy South Bay LLC; and has been approved by the California Coastal Commission and the City of Chula Vista. To protect the public, there will be a land and water perimeter set up to limit access around the site; details of its boundaries are being finalized.
This dramatic demolition event will fulfill the promise that the Port of San Diego made 14 years ago when it acquired the plant with the goal of eventually removing it from the waterfront for the betterment of the San Diego region. Stakeholders worked for years to advocate for its removal, asking state regulators to determine it was no longer necessary for the region's power supply. In October 2010, the California Independent System Operator determined that the plant could be taken out of service. The implosion is one visible indicator of Dynegy following through on its commitment to the Port and the City of Chula Vista to demolish the site upon the end of its useful life.
The South Bay Power Plant is a massive, 165-foot-tall structure with an open steel framework surrounding boilers and turbines. It has been on the bayfront since the late 1950s and was fully shut down at the end of 2010. Its main structure takes up around 13 acres on a 115-acre leasehold held by Port of San Diego tenant Dynegy South Bay LLC.
"The removal of the South Bay Power Plant is a visual signal to the community of Chula Vista and the San Diego region that we are serious about bayfront redevelopment," said Chair Ann Moore of the Board of Port Commissioners. "I am thrilled that we have finally set a date to bring down this huge industrial structure. I am even more pleased that we plan to replace it with a public park, as well as an RV park, that everyone will be able to enjoy."
Its removal is an essential step toward redeveloping formerly industrial bayfront land. The power plant site is a portion of the award-winning Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, a shovel-ready land-use plan that will guide the transformation of more than 500 acres of waterfront property. Developed by the Port, the City of Chula Vista and property owner Pacifica Companies with extensive public input and approved by the California Coastal Commission in August 2012, the plan lays out a future world-class resort and conference destination, complemented by a mix of residential, retail, and more than 240 acres of parks and nature preserve. Under the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, the South Bay Power Plant site and its surrounding land will eventually be replaced with:
- A future public park (24 acres)
- A future RV park (14 acres)
- A future Industrial Business Park (two parcels, totaling approximately 36 acres)
- Buffer zone around western perimeter (25 acres)
- View CVBMP Illustrative Map (303.72 kB)
The actual implosion event will take fewer than two minutes and will sound like rolling thunder with reverberations. A number of small, controlled explosive charges will be placed within the steel and concrete power block structure in order to bring it down. Heavy equipment will then be used to break up the structure. The project is expected to generate about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals and up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, which will be recycled and salvaged when feasible.
About the Port:
The Port of San Diego is the fourth largest of the 11 ports in California. It was created by the state legislature in 1962. Since then, it has invested millions of dollars in public improvements in its five member cities – Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.
The port oversees two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, 18 public parks, the Harbor Police Department and the leases of more than 600 tenant and sub tenant businesses around San Diego Bay.
The Port of San Diego is an economic engine, an environmental steward of San Diego Bay and the surrounding tidelands, and a provider of community services and public safety.