Port of San Diego grants lease for symphony’s Bayside Performance Park

(Courtesy of Port of San Diego)

SAN DIEGO — The Port of San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners announced its approval Thursday of a 15-year extension for the San Diego Symphony Association’s lease at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

The lease, approved Wednesday, includes three 10-year options and one five-year option, allowing the association to lease the park for up to 50 years. The association currently uses the park land for its Bayside Summer Nights concert series, which it started in 2004.

The concert series is held on a temporary stage that is assembled and disassembled each year.

Later this year, the association hopes to break ground on the Bayside Performance Park project that would include construction of an open-air performance venue with seating for 10,000 as well as various improvements to park features like benches and basketball courts.

The new venue also would serve as the permanent location for Bayside Summer Nights.

“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,” Board Chairman Garry Bonelli said. “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 part.”

The stage will be designed by London-based company Soundforms, according to the association. The stage will be feature an accoustically engineered shell made of tensile white fabric and will complement the look of the nearby San Diego Convention Center. The venue will remain open to the public year-round as part of Marina Park South.

“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,” San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer said. “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.”

The lease extension is the last major step in the project’s approval process, according to symphony officials. With the extension complete, ground- breaking on the project may happen by September.

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