The Port of San Diego is being redesigned with entertainment—and resiliency—in mind.
The $1.5 billion, 70-acre waterside development, officially dubbed Seaport San Diego, will transform a hodgepodge of tourist spots, parking lots, and a fish processing plant into a mixed-use entertainment destination crowned by a 500-foot-tall observation tower, The Spire, whose metal-clad central column looms over the surrounding cityscape in conceptual renderings. Gondolas will surround The Spire’s core, and a VR program will take visitors back a millennium to experience the San Diego area pre-European arrival.
The innovations are below ground, too. Scientists predict that sea levels will rise one to 3.4 feet by 2100, but some project the Pacific Ocean to rise as much as ten feet—a change that would devastate a coastline that’s home to three-quarters of California’s 39 million-plus residents. Consequently, Seaport San Diego’s engineers are building the development in what is essentially a bathtub: Parking will be sited 20 or 30 feet underground, and design features from entrances to the electric system will be conceived with an eye towards sea level rise. The site also sits near a newly-discovered earthquake fault, so engineers are building seismic precautions into the development as well.
The development team will break ground in 2021, and construction should wrap in 2024 or 2025. The development, which includes bustling the Seaport Village site, will also include a marine-focused charter school and a 178,000-square-foot aquarium designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).
This is not the only major development afoot in or near California’s second-largest city. In October, Populous unveiled its design for a modular 10,000-seat North American Soccer League (NASL) professional soccer stadium for northern San Diego County. Nearby, cement company Lehigh Hanson is converting a disused gravel mine into a Millennial-focused housing development.