Seaport San Diego

6/14/19 – Seaport San Diego Develops Diverse Designs Enriching Local Opportunities and Global Tourism

S.D. Mator
by Lisa Thibodeaux, Construction Experts, Inc.
ASPE San Diego Chapter #4 Programs Chair

Over the next six years, Seaport Village will transform from its aging, quaint presence into a 70-acre multiuse state-of-the-art construction program called Seaport San Diego. With 40 land acres and 30 water acres, San Diego’s coastal profile will morph into a community and cultural hotspot with world-class amenities, educational opportunities, and outdoor activities. Its current reputation for unique small business retail experiences, and open outdoor space will expand to include the following world class features:

  • San Diego Aquarium
  • Education Center
  • Spire (think Seattle Space Needle)
  • 5-Star Hotel
  • Expanded Dock Space for boats of all sizes, including 450 ft. mega yachts
  • Micro-Hotel
  • Hostel
  • Urban beach
  • Outdoor gym
  • Park
  • Market
  • and more

1HWY1’s Master Plan
1HWY1 is the developer for the program and consists of Protea, managing partner, RCI Group, a waterfront developer, US ThrillRides, in charge of the Spire, OdySea out of Scottsdale, AZ in charge of the aquarium, and AECOM, a global engineering and design firm. The design team includes BIG, Bjarke Ingles Group, a Denmark-based architectural firm featuring architect Bjarke Ingels. The mixed-use land and water development program is unprecedented. "Nothing like this has been done before in San Diego, but we feel good about the progress thus far and we're looking forward to all that's ahead," said Yehudi Gaffen, CEO of Gafcon, Inc. and Protea Waterfront. The Port of San Diego is also pleased with progress over three years since it first accepted Gafcon’s proposal in 2016. Port Commissioner Dan Malcolm said, “The project components were bold, creative, compelling, iconic, dynamic and and well thought out.”

  • 1HWY1 plans on dividing up the 70-acre space as follows:
  • 276,000 sf for retail and restaurants is downsized from the current 400,000 sf retail space
  • 1,933 hotel rooms dispersed across six different hotel brands
  • 150,000 sf office space
  • 2,200 parking spaces
  • 14,000 lf of waterside dockage
  • Slip space is projected to increase from 164 slips to 196 slips
  • Fish processing plant projected 25,000 sf
  • Veterans museum 75,000 sf
  • Education/Learning Center 75,000 sf
  • Aquarium + Butterfly Exhibit 192,050 sf
  • Observation tower 80,000 sf extending 500 ft into San Diego’s skyline
  • Open space will cover over 70% of the program space

Blue Campus
“Honoring the water” drives the Seaport San Diego vision. This can be seen in the many ways Gafcon, Protea, and 1HWY1 are working with the local fishing community, boat tourism opportunities, the Port of San Diego, and local educational institutions to ensure Seaport San Diego will offer sustainable fishing, educational, and commercial opportunities to its local and global visitors. UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography is partnering with the developer to provide an educational center for lifelong learning and research opportunities for San Diego students and researchers. The center’s focus will include marine sciences, maritime logistics, and music. “A 150,000 sf blue tech incubator for early-stage startups would act as an interface between academia and private industry” (Big Changes to Seaport Village Plan, SDUT, November 4, 2018).

Tuna Harbor Upgrades
Tuna Harbor is home to San Diego’s commercial fishing industry. Gaf wants to honor the San Diego fishing industry and plans on bringing needed amenities to enhance the infrastructure and bring in more consumer dollars to San Diego fishermen. Revitalization efforts include updating the docks and facilities, adding a dock and dine landing for The Fish House, and plans to create a sister facility at America’s Cup Harbor including:
A fish-processing facility
A seafood market
New berths for commercial fishing and aquaculture vessels

This is all good news for a coastal city that imports 90% of its seafood.

An Overnight Stay for Every Budget
Gaf’s plan for this outdoor city center is to include hotel stays for all budget types as seen in the inclusion of a hostel, micro-hotel, and 5-star world class hotel. Micro-hotels can be seen in Japan and New York City where it is common to include more rooms in a smaller space that contrast with large expansive outdoor settings. A typical micro-hotel room is 50 sf, accommodating guests who are searching for economical, urban, trendy hotel stays in the center of the city. The 5-star hotel may host aquarium-themed rooms featuring fishes swimming above or beside hotel rooms.

Outdoor Activities for All Ages
Visitors will find a variety of outdoor activities at Seaport, including:

  • Seaport San Diego Kids Zone where children can jump, splash, explore and create
  • Yoga and tai chi platforms
  • Beach volleyball courts
  • Outdoor workout equipment
  • Stationary cycling platforms
  • Kayak and stand-up paddleboard rental and launch facilities
  • A base camp building that will supply lockers, a juice and health food bar, and deck

Infrastructure changes and earthquake fault lines
There are plans to extend Pacific Coast Highway and Kettner Boulevard to reconnect the city’s burgeoning gem to downtown. The active fault line that runs through the middle of the program area is a driver of program change. It also speaks to Gaffen’s resilience and commitment to the project: “It’s not a show stopper by any means,” Gaffen said. “It’s just the nature of where we live.”

Join ASPE San Diego Chapter 4 as Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen provides more insight, detail, and explanation of the Seaport’s many features and facilities.

Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen earned his BS in Construction Management from University of Cape Town, South Africa. In 1979 he moved to San Diego with his wife Pam after graduation and launched his career in management and construction. In 1987 Gaf and Pam founded Gafcon to fulfill his vision of assisting owners in delivering complex projects and supporting vibrant communities. Gafcon has grown into a globally respected program and construction management consulting firm responsible for the success of hundreds of projects, including: the $12B Zizhu Hi Tech Park Development master plan in Shanghai; AltaSea, a $135M adaptive reuse at the Port of Los Angeles; the City of San Diego North Embarcadero Visionary Plan; and the Port of Los Angeles Waterfront and Promenade. In 2016, the Unified Port of San Diego awarded the $1.2B redevelopment of Seaport San Diego to Protea Waterfront Development, with Gafcon providing program management services. In 2018, Gafcon was selected to provide program management and consulting services for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s Airport Design and Construction Program.

The ASPE San Diego meeting will be held at Butcher Shop Steakhouse, 5255 Kearny Villa Road, San Diego located east of Highway 163 and south of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Opening our waterfront with a world-class urban resort district
  • Combining commercial space, office space, open space and the blue economy
  • Showcasing the water’s edge, providing the signature experience of Seaport San Diego
  • Including vibrant places to shop, taste, and learn that will awaken our waterfront

Registration begins at 4:15 PM – Networking 4:15-5:15 PM

Announcements begin at 5:15 PM

Dinner service 5:15 PM – Presentation 6:00 PM

Meal choices: Tri-Tip Beef, Atlantic Salmon, Mediterranean Pasta Cost: Members & Guests $45 – Students $30

There is much more to learn about this project, its redesign, and plans for the future. "2019 will be an important year for Seaport," Gaffen said. "We will be validating the current design and begin testing concepts to see what San Diegans prefer to do and see at our waterfront." Come be a part of the conversation that reveals the Seaport San Diego of the future.

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