Port of SD Partners with USS Midway Museum

Apr 25, 2022

Major Milestone in Park Funding and Timeline

The Port of San Diego and USS Midway Museum have reached an agreement that lays out a plan to fully convert Navy Pier into a new public park, proposed to be called “Freedom Park,” on San Diego Bay’s North Embarcadero.

On April 12, 2022, the Board of Port Commissioners approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that includes the Port’s commitment of $11.7 million in federal stimulus funding received via the American Rescue Plan Act and the Midway’s contribution of no less than $30 million to the project. The project plans call for the demolition of the headhouse on the pier, completion of pile improvements and pier reinforcements, as well as buildout of the park with amenities reflecting San Diego’s military history, pedestrian walkways around and through the park, landscaping, benches, signage, restrooms, and parking. The full cost of buildout of the park is to be determined as the park is further designed.

“Our agreement with the USS Midway Museum is a major milestone in delivering an exciting new public park – and improving public access – on the North Embarcadero,” said Chairman Dan Malcolm, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “In collaboration with the Midway as well as the California Coastal Commission, we will create a better experience for all who visit our San Diego Bay waterfront.”

“We are very excited to be collaborating with the Port of San Diego on the development of ‘Freedom Park’ on Navy Pier that will create a beautiful public space on the downtown waterfront for San Diegans as well as visitors to America’s Finest City,” said Mac McLaughlin, president and CEO of the USS Midway Museum. 

With approval of the MOU, Port staff will continue to collaborate with the Midway and the California Coastal Commission on the details of the design of the park on the approximately 5.7-acre pier. When the schematic design is complete, the Port will process a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) with the California Coastal Commission. The Port anticipates issuance of the CDP in early 2024. Prior to the start of construction, the headhouse will be demolished and pier structural improvements will be completed. The current timeline for park opening is early 2029.

The Port’s most visible and popular public waterfront is the North Embarcadero, considered San Diego’s “front porch.” Converting Navy Pier to a park will add to the various public amenities and development the Port has delivered in the North Embarcadero in recent years:

  • Portside Pier with first-rate views of San Diego Bay from public viewing areas and four Brigantine restaurants – Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar, Miguel’s Cocina, Ketch Grill & Taps, and Portside Coffee & Gelato.
  • BRIC – a lifestyle destination at Broadway and Pacific that includes the Intercontinental San Diego hotel and two Marriott hotels as well as restaurants and retail.
  • North Embarcadero Visionary Plan – improvements included Lane Field Park, which is dedicated to and named after the field where the original Pacific Coast League Padres played from 1936-1957; a widened public esplanade lined with lush jacaranda trees; iconic public art by internationally acclaimed artist Pae White incorporated into the pavilions, café building, entertainment and information centers, and even the public restroom building; Carnitas Snack Shack; the “Grand Hall” along West Broadway; and more.