San Diego Symphony Bayside Performance Park Enhancement Project
The San Diego Symphony is constructing a permanent outdoor performance and event venue in the Port’s Embarcadero Marina Park South. The organization has assembled and disassembled a temporary venue in the park for its Bayside Summer Nights concert series since 2004. Known as the Bayside Performance Park Enhancement Project, park enhancements and improvements are included in this “park within a park” project at no public cost.
Bayside Performance Park Project components include:
Infrastructure and Amenities
- Acoustically engineered stage featuring a concert shell designed to complement the Convention Center sails and downtown skyline;
- Sunset steps and patio at the back of the stage for stunning views of San Diego Bay and public use during non-event hours;
- Sloped lawn with temporary/removable seating that allows for lawns to be open to the public during non-event hours;
- New, permanent restrooms; a dining and retail pavilion; environmentally sensitive landscaping and lighting;
- A widened (8-to-12 feet) public promenade around the venue 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 the public amenities already existing in Embarcadero Marina Park South including the existing benches, basketball courts and exercise equipment, gazebo, lighting and restrooms.
Public Access and Activations
- Most of the park space will be open to the general public for 85 percent of the year with programming involving paid admission or rental events limited to 15 percent of the year;
- Four free public events will be offered each year during the summer months;
- The Symphony will offer open rehearsals for its concerts and reduced ticket pricing at each concert;
- Twelve free public educational events each year;
- Continuous access to the Embarcadero Marina Park South fishing pier, bait shop and deli; and
- The majority of the parking spaces in Embarcadero Marina Park South will be reserved for public park users, including during all events at the Bayside Performance Park.
Additionally, the Symphony will make a financial contribution toward a future expansion of Pepper Park in National City.
Bayside Performance Park Timeline
The project supports the Port’s efforts to inspire residents and visitors by providing unique experiences on San Diego Bay.
The San Diego Symphony Orchestra Association (San Diego Symphony) begins holding a summer concert series known as Bayside Summer Nights (formerly Summer Pops) at Embarcadero Marina Park South under an annual Temporary Use and Occupancy Permit (TUOP). The Port authorized the recurring use through a Coastal Development Permit, which allows up to 37 events per summer season
The San Diego Symphony submits a proposal to the Port to construct a permanent performance and event venue with enhanced public park amenities and a permanent performance stage with an acoustic shell that would accommodate a full-sized orchestra year-round.
The Board of Port Commissioners directs Port staff to initiate CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) review and commence negotiations with the San Diego Symphony for the project.
Port staff distributes a Notice of Preparation to prepare a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
The draft EIR is made available for public review.
The final EIR is made available for public review.
The Board approves certification of the EIR as well as a Port Master Plan Amendment (PMPA) and binding Letter of Intent with the San Diego Symphony.
Port staff submits the PMPA to the California Coastal Commission for processing.
California Coastal Commission certifies the PMPA.
Port Board adopts the certified PMPA and an amended South Embarcadero Public Access Plan; approves project concept; and authorizes issuance of a conditional, non-appealable Coastal Development Permit.
Port Board approves a lease to The San Diego Symphony Orchestra Association.
The Port and the San Diego Symphony celebrate groundbreaking.
Anticipated opening of Bayside Performance Park.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is this and how big is the site?
This is sited in Embarcadero Marina Park South, which is located behind the San Diego Convention Center. The Symphony is building and will operate a permanent outdoor performance and event venue on approximately one-third, or 3.68 acres of the 10.8-acre park. The estimated average attendance is projected to be 3,131 per event, however the venue would have the flexibility to accommodate a maximum capacity of 10,000 seats for a limited number of annual events. The venue would be a part of the park and would be open to the general public during non-event hours. Use of the venue for admission-based and rental events would be limited to 55 full day or 110 half-day events.
When will construction begin? / When will Bayside Performance Park open?
Construction began in September 2019 following the 2019 Bayside Summer Nights season. Bayside Performance Park is scheduled to open in Summer 2020.
How much will this project cost and how will it be funded?
The estimated cost of development is $45 million, to be entirely funded by the Symphony. The Symphony expects $25 million to come from donations and the remaining $20 million to come from debt.
Will Embarcadero Marina Park South be open during construction of the Bayside Performance Park?
Portions of the park and surrounding promenade (walkway) will be closed as the construction of the Bayside Performance Park and the additional park improvements progresses. Portions of the promenade and the entire fishing pier at the park will be open throughout the time of the construction to allow public access to the bay.