San Diego Symphony Bayside Performance Park Enhancement Project
The San Diego Symphony plans to construct a permanent outdoor performance and event venue for Embarcadero Marina Park South. The Bayside Performance Park Enhancement Project also includes park improvements at no public cost. Since 2004, the Symphony has assembled and disassembled a temporary venue in the park for its Bayside Summer Nights concert series.
Bayside Performance Park Project components 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;
- 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 included in the project are:
- Most of the park to 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 each year (two during the peak period between the start of Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day);
- Open rehearsals for Symphony concerts;
- Free, public educational events;
- Some reduced ticket pricing at each concert; and
- A financial contribution by the Symphony 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.
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 proposing to build and 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?
The San Diego Symphony is focused on various construction timelines and final permitting. The earliest construction could begin is early September following the 2019 Bayside Summer Nights season (June-September).
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.