Seaport Village Embarcadero
A Seaport San Diego rendering. Photo credit: @portofsandiego, via Twitter

Seaport San Diego has been honored with a prestigious design award, the latest milestone for the redevelopment proposed for the downtown San Diego waterfront.

The $3.6 billion project, through the Port of San Diego, is preparing to enter the critical environmental review process.

The honor, the 2022 ICSC GOLD Award for Evolving Innovation and Aspiration in the New Developments category, noted how Seaport San Diego’s design dramatically increased coastal access, recreational space, activities and water views of San Diego Bay. The design team also provided improved commercial fishing facilities and unique features, including an observation tower, aquarium, learning center and Blue Tech innovation center.

As the member organization for the marketplace industry, ICSC promotes and elevates the marketplaces and spaces where people shop, dine, work, play and gather.

Its Global Design and Development Awards Program recognizes outstanding achievements in design and development of marketplaces properties and retail store design. This year’s winners were announced at the annual ceremony Dec. 1 in Phoenix.

Master architect James Mellor, AIA, NCARB, Principal of CallisonRTKL Inc., accepted the award on behalf of the project team. 

“Seaport is really a love letter for San Diego – a once-in-a-lifetime project – and we are grateful to ICSC for recognizing the passion and quality of this innovative design in enhancing public access and economic development for this cherished site,” Mellor said. “We have had tremendous momentum this year and we are excited about where it’s going as we advance this truly world-class waterfront for our beautiful San Diego Bay.”

The Seaport San Diego developer is the 1HWY1 Partnership, made up of Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen, Jeff Jacobs and Jeffrey Essakow. 

“Seaport San Diego is more than just an urban redevelopment project – it’s the expression of our hopes and dreams for future generations and our passion for being a good steward of the ocean and the planet,” said Gaffen, 1HWY1’s CEO. “Our process has been progressive, with community input shaping every part of the design. We are humbled to receive the ICSC GOLD Award and hope to serve as a model for other developments that put the community first.”

1HWY1 was selected by the Port of San Diego for its Seaport San Diego concept after a competitive process in 2016 in which developers submitted ideas for the land and water area known as the Central Embarcadero.

This includes Seaport Village, Santa Monica Seafood (formerly Chesapeake Fish), and surrounding areas between the Manchester Grand Hyatt and the USS Midway Museum, with some exclusions.

The port initiated the redevelopment to create more public space on the water, extend streets to the water, preserve and enhance view corridors and facilitate the enjoyment of the bay.

The team spent years refining its proposed project in response to stakeholder feedback, due diligence findings and input from prospective partners. The port held four public meetings to consider Seaport San Diego this year. 

On Nov. 8, the Board of Port Commissioners unanimously voted to move the project into the California Environmental Quality Act review process. That is expected to take at least two years, after which the project may be considered for approval.

If all the expected milestones are met without delay, 1HWY1 projects that groundbreaking could take place in 2025.