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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Promenade to Be High-Tech, Arts, Science Hub

A major feature of Liberty Station’s historic district is the NTC Promenade, being billed as the new flagship for arts, culture, science and technology “that will reflect, advance and strengthen San Diego as a center for innovation and creativity,” according to the Corky McMillin Cos., the developer.

Among the resident groups in the first phase of the Promenade are the Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater, the San Diego Ballet, the Visions Art Quilt Gallery and the San Diego Watercolor Society.

“Once the public starts coming down here and seeing events, hopefully they will fall in love with this place,” said Alan Ziter, the executive director of the NTC Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Liberty Station.

He also hopes that not only will the locals patronize the 28-acre Promenade, but that it will be a thriving tourist attraction.

“We’re preserving the history of NTC as a naval training center, just as the Midway helped to strengthen military tourism in San Diego,” he said. “There are hopes that, over the years, there will be more and more historical components that would make this a must-see stop for families coming to San Diego and learning about military history, and how the Navy helped define San Diego in the 20th century.”

The $850 million mixed-use development at Liberty Station is being built on the site of the former Naval Training Center in Point Loma. The project will include shopping villages and restaurants.

The building renovations are under way, said Ziter, and several events have been scheduled for the next few months on the Promenade, including the U.S. Chess Championship, March 2-12, and the Point Loma Bridal Fair on March 19.

The foundation’s $28 million fund-raising package is set to close at the end of January, said Ziter, and is made up of various tax credits, a redevelopment grant from the city’s tax increment money, a $1.5 million naming gift from the San Diego-based builder of Liberty Station, McMillin Cos., and other private donations, among other sources.

Donors include the Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust, San Diego National Bank, Union Bank of California, the Cush Automotive Charitable Foundation, the Downtown San Diego Partnership and the Dr. Seuss Foundation.

The NTC Foundation also is offering individuals, groups and businesses an opportunity to buy bricks and granite pavers with personalized messages along the 26-building Promenade, with proceeds going to help pay for renovations.

“Our challenge with fund raising is that we’re on a former military base that most San Diegans haven’t been on, and have no idea how beautiful these buildings are, in a part of town that most San Diegans don’t come to, and a base that’s been closed since ’97,” said Ziter.

“It’s not like fund raising for a new library or symphony hall that most people can get their arms around,” he added. “You’ve got to see this to fall in love with it. By using every financial vehicle available to us, we will get these buildings done and the public will see Balboa Park on the Bay.”


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