Port of San Diego Grants Lease for San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Performance Park

The San Diego Symphony proposes to construct a permanent outdoor performance and event venue in Embarcadero Marina Park South.
(Conceptual rendering provided by Tucker Sadler. Image: Port of San Diego)

The Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has granted a lease for The San Diego Symphony Orchestra Association’s Bayside Performance Park project, a significant milestone in the Symphony’s efforts to build a permanent facility on the San Diego Bayfront. A “park within a park,” the project will include the construction of a new performance venue to be operated by the Symphony as well as park improvements in the Port’s Embarcadero Marina Park South behind the San Diego Convention Center.

“The San Diego Symphony is investing a minimum of $45 million in improvements, including many public amenities and better performance facilities, creating a new, year-round attraction on the San Diego Bay waterfront. We’re confident concert-goers will love the improved access and state-of-the art stage and sound system, and bayfront visitors will love the new and improved park,” said Chairman Garry Bonelli, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

“As we reach this important milestone in the development of a permanent outdoor performance space, Bayside Performance Park, I want to recognize the incredible partnership that has existed over the past four-and-a-half years between the Port of San Diego, the California Coastal Commission and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra,” said Martha Gilmer, San Diego Symphony CEO. “The work we have accomplished together to create and activate a public performance park will be transformative and have lasting impact to San Diego residents and visitors. Our hope is that it will become a coastal destination for everyone, and an iconic landmark for the region and its coastline.”

The San Diego Symphony proposes to construct a permanent outdoor performance and event venue in Embarcadero Marina Park South.
(Conceptual rendering provided by Tucker Sadler.)

Since 2004, the Symphony has assembled and disassembled a temporary venue in the park for its Bayside Summer Nights concert series. The approved lease, with an initial 15-year term and four options to extend for a total of up to 50 years, allows the Symphony to operate the Bayside Performance Park for concerts and events, while maintaining public access to most of Embarcadero Marina Park South the majority of the year. With this important step now complete, the Symphony may begin construction as early as September.

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.

Public benefits include:

  • 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 of which would occur Memorial Day weekend to 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.

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Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com