Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Port of San Diego reviews mega redevelopment project for Seaport Village and surrounding area

An iconic part of the downtown waterfront surrounding Seaport Village could drastically change under a development proposal presented to the Port Tuesday. KPBS reporter Alexander Nguyen shows us what developers have in mind.

On a perfect San Diego day, tourists can be seen milling around catching some sun in the Seaport Village area, but change is coming to the San Diego waterfront.

The Port of San Diego on Tuesday reviewed a $3.5 billion plan to redevelop the downtown waterfront, which includes Seaport Village and two nearby parks. It is the first time the public had the opportunity to comment on the redevelopment.

News of the plan did not sit well with Mike Ismail, owner of Alamo Flags, which has been in business at Seaport Village since 1990.


“It's the wrong move because this is like — Seaport Village is like a landmark," Ismail said. "It's a beautiful area for families. And they see the bay and they walk around and they enjoy themselves. It's a relaxed atmosphere. I don't really agree upon that [change]."

The redevelopment would change the atmosphere of the seaside shopping center, according to Ismail.

RELATED: Rising gas prices affect San Diego's tourism industry.

Others like Shabby Tavakoli, who owns Seaport Fudge Factory, thinks it is about time Seaport Village gets an upgrade.

"I think it's a great idea. It's time," Tavakoli said. "The ground needs a little bit of work, all these tree roots is ruining the ground structure."


Under the proposed plan, the existing Seaport Village would be torn down for new hotels, restaurants, an art exhibition space and a yacht club. There are also plans for a 500-foot tower with observation decks, an aquarium and other public spaces.

The project will be transformational, according to Yuhodi "Gaf" Gaffen, CEO of Protea Waterfront Development. He added it is a priority that small businesses that make up the character of Seaport Village be able to stay and be a part of the new waterfront.

“We have made the commitment to them, that anyone who wants to stay will be able to stay," Gaffen said. "We will phase our project to be able to give them continuity of business. We realize a small business can't shut down and then open up a few years later.”

The plan has the support of the San Diego City Council, Mayor Todd Gloria, the Regional Chamber of Commerce, among others.

This is an ongoing process and the meeting Tuesday gave port commissioners a chance to weigh in and propose any necessary changes.

A final decision on the plan will not happen for some time.