San Diego’s Seaport Village Looks To Move Into The Next Era Of Retail

Seaport Village is uniquely situated adjacent to Downtown, on San Diego Bay. Seaport Village is uniquely situated adjacent to Downtown, on San Diego Bay.

It may be the end of an era, as Seaport Village’s 40-year lease has come to an end. The 70-acre waterfront site will soon be reinvented to include an observation tower, aquarium with butterfly exhibit, public space, hotel rooms, retail, office space, educational center and parking. While this newest iteration is still a few years in the making, the current asset holds opportunity for current and future retailers seeking interim space and the possibility of evolving alongside this reimagined waterfront.

Penny Maus, department manager of business development real estate for the Port of San Diego, answers a few questions surrounding Seaport’s short- and long-term futures. 

Retail Insight:Seaport Village’s 40-year lease has now come to an end. What opportunities does this present for both current and prospective tenants?

Penny Maus:As of Oct. 1, 2018, Seaport Village will transition back to the Port of San Diego. In April 2018, after a public, competitive selection process, the Board of Port Commissioners selected Protea Property Management, a San Diego-based property management firm, to manage and operate Seaport Village until the redevelopment of the area begins. This will ensure the shopping and dining complex remains a vibrant and prosperous waterfront destination for residents, visitors and the businesses that operate within it until the port’s planned redevelopment of the Central Embarcadero.

There are 54 existing tenants that have chosen to enter into new leases with the port, which will allow them to continue to operate at Seaport Village. Some current tenants elected not to enter into new leases with the port, creating new leasing opportunities for prospective tenants. 

RI:What would be the benefit to leasing space in this interim period, versus waiting until the redevelopment is closer to completion?

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Penny Maus, department manager of business development real estate for the Port of San Diego.

Maus:The proposed redevelopment project is still in the early phases and is not expected to begin for about four to six years. The owner of Protea is a member of the 1HWY1 team, which the port selected to redevelop the area. By leasing with the port now, retailers and restauranteurs have the opportunity to work with Protea during this interim period, which could lead to opportunities to be a part of the ultimate development.

RI:What advice would you give to a prospective tenant that may be considering an interim space at Seaport Village?

Maus:If someone has a great idea they think would work, reach out and let’s chat. It may sound cliché but we have limited vacancies. Being on the water in San Diego, where the average temperature is 72 degrees, also means these opportunities will go quickly. 

RI:Are there any particular types of retailers or shopping or dining trends you’re targeting?

Maus:Seaport Village is uniquely situated adjacent to Downtown, on San Diego Bay. Under the port’s governing documents, our focus is visitor-serving in nature. We hope that retailers and restauranteurs interested in Seaport will have concepts that will attract and serve visitors, but will also delight locals. After all, where do visitors want to go? Where the locals go.

RI:What is your hope for Seaport Village over the next five years as this new iteration comes to fruition?

Maus:We hope Seaport Village in this interim, five-year period will give residents and visitors an exciting glimpse into what may come from the future development.

— Interview by Nellie Day, contributing writer. This article is part of the Retail Insight newsletter by Shopping Center Business, which includes a brief series of articles and videos surrounding some of the retail industry’s biggest gatherings, including ICSC Western Conference & Dealmaking. Some of the articles and the videos in the publication are created in conjunction with our content partners, which sponsor the newsletter. Click here to subscribe and to see archived newsletters.