‘Space Needle 2’ Part of $1.2 Billion Plan to Redevelop San Diego’s Seaport Village

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Updated: Futuristic Spire Would Anchor Proposed Project on 70 Acres of Downtown San Diego Waterfront

San Diego Unified Port District commissioners have voted to support a proposal for the long-awaited $1.2 billion redevelopment of 70 acres in San Diego’s Seaport Village and Central Embarcadero area into Seaport San Diego, a new multi-use center with hotels, parks, beaches and updated retail, dining and entertainment elements — including an aquarium and a 480-foot-tall “skyspire” observation tower.

The Port Authority chose the proposal by Protea Waterfront Development, a partnership that includes developer Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen, resort owner and former Qualcomm chief marketing officer Jeff Jacobs and developer Jeffery Essakow, over several other submitted projects. The Port of San Diego will negotiate exclusively with Protea before making a final decision on the project in October.

The lease for Seaport Village held by Carlsbad-based Terramar Retail Centers expires in September 2018. Protea hopes to begin the three-year construction project in 2020.

Included in the proposal is a project by ThrillCorp, Inc., an Orlando-based fledgling publicly traded entertainment company, to build the unique “SkySpire” observation tower. The tower, designed by AVRP/Skyport Studios, would feature gondolas that spiral around the structure as they transport riders to an interactive observation booth platform to be designed in partnership with the Smithsonian Media. A restaurant would be located above the observation platform.

The proposal would redesign and expand Embarcadero Marina Park North, and position Pacific Coast Highway and Kettner Boulevard as major gateways to San Diego Bay. The project includes more than 30 acres of parks and public spaces, along with hotels, beaches, shopping, dining and outdoor activities.

Gaffen said the acreage is “unquestionably one of the best waterfront sites in the United States that when completed will redefine experiential urban, mixed-use development.”

“It’s an authentically San Diego project with a deep connection to the city in all of its locally curated components,” Gaffen added.
Editor’s note: This update adds details of the project and clarifies that the Port Authority voted to choose Protea to engage in exclusive talks to reach a final contract for the development.


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