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San Diego Bayfront Is Getting A Makeover

This undated photo shows the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge.
Michael Schuerman
This undated photo shows the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge.

San Diego Bayfront Is Getting A Makeover
San Diego Bayfront Is Getting A Makeover GUEST:Roger Showley, reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

an Diego's bayfront is a splendid place to be, for decades the port district has multiple over plans to do great things with one of the premier places in all of downtown, if not the County. There's so much potential for iconic development that would define San Diego, like the upper house to fines Australia's waterfront. As the economy improves, new plans are afoot. Roger Showley is with us. The port has plans for certain parts of the bayfront. Some of the areas seem to be left to developers to decide. Which are the parts that do have a plan and which are the parts that seem to be more he smell -- piecemeal. L of -- everything is developer driven. The port derives money from leases that developers pay for their projects, hotels, restaurants and so forth. In a way it's demand driven. If someone wants to build a hotel they asked the port district or the port will say they have a property that needs to be redeveloped, who wants to do it. They then go get suggestions. I remember a plan by Robert Quigley for Seaport Village and now there's another plan. It's years later, tell us what might happen. It was not developer initiated, it was port developed. Seaport Village lease expires in 2018. The question is to continue the lease with the present tenet and allow them to modernize or you should you have other people get a chance. In the past, the port has extended leases under provisions they will improve it. Lately, they have opened it up to other bidders. In all cases, they have chosen new people instead of existing people to move forward. That upsets the people who already work there or have their property and businesses there. And all the people who spend years going to certain restaurants and that's her favorite, changes are afoot. It's a policy matter and the keep calling it a world-class development that they want to encourage. Everyone likes world-class in San Diegans are capable of building such things, every so often they asked the world to see if they want to do something. What can we expect to see in Seaport Village? That is the biggest development they are working on. I wrote the story Sunday in the UT about 19 projects the port is working on. Seaport Village is the most dramatic. They invited developers around the world to submit ideas. The team they've selected, has plans for a hotel, a spire, an observation tower, a beach and lots of shops and restaurants. They did not approve the project and they didn't approve the developer, the port district said get more information from the team and tell us. They did not have the time to negotiate the terms and conditions. In October, they are to come back to the port board and report what they found after more diligent searching. Adult -- it doesn't look like there will be changes for next year. They have to wait for Seaport Village least to expire and than those people would be required to demolish everything and return it to vacant land. What is your guess? 2020? 2020 is the best case scenario. Anthony's restaurant has been there for years, we might see changes there sooner. That's an example cle -- Anthony's has been there since the 1940s and they want to redevelop and build a new restaurant. The port opened it up to other restaurant groups of -- a different team one that negotiation. We start -- we are sorry to see Anthony's go and you can save it is a -- an institution. The new team is promising a rage of restaurant opportunities and we will see if that comes about. There an equally rapidly -- rapid tubal -- company. A lot of people are sorry that Anthony's is going, others think it is time for change. There are hotels going up on Harbor Island. What will it take to get the California coastal commission to sign off on those? The issue with the coastal commission, they are in a bit of transition. They have been keen on having affordable hotel opportunities on the coastal zone. We will see if they can make it happen. That's as dramatic as the Seaport Village, currently rental cars were on Harbor Drive and those of been shipped over to a new garage on Pacific Highway, leaving several thousand acres of land. You think, why are they wasting waterfront on parking lots. They are moving quickly to get development going, they've earned $3 million a year from the rental car tenants. That expires next year, they want to get whatever development is happening quickly up and running to replace the revenue. It will be interesting to see if that blocks off views of the bay. The developers who were chosen have come up with plans that promise views. It's pretty flat, you can't see the bay very easily from the sidewalk. I think what they have proposed will make a new place to go. Just quickly, Coronado Bridge, there was a competition and a lightning -- lighting display. How will it be paid for? That's a creative financing plan, Marcia Murray came up with the idea of having the developers pay 1% of their development cost for art, divert some or all of that to the bridge. 10 years ago they chose a British team to design lighting on the bridge, at the time they said it cost $1 million, we will have to check to see if that's still the right number. If they get this money from developers, by 2019 the anniversary of the bridge and the anniversary of San Diego, they will celebrate it with the lighting of the bridge. There is a lot going on along San Diego's bayfront. Thank you for bringing us up to date. That was Roger Showley, a writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In the last nine months, the San Diego Unified Port District board has made development decisions that will impact San Diego's bayfront for years to come.

San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Roger Showley wrote about the port's recent decisions and provided updates on 19 of the projects in the area surrounding the San Diego Bay.

On Tuesday, Showley joins KPBS Midday Edition to talk about some of the most prominent projects, including:

Harbor Island

Seaport Village

Anthony's Seafood replacement

Coronado Bridge Lighting

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