After nearly 30 years of collecting dust, the Old Police Headquarters is on its way to becoming San Diego’s next hot destination for locals and tourists. The 73-year-old building, which is adjacent to Seaport Village, will soon be known as The Headquarters, a retail, dining and entertainment center.
The project is part of four initiatives to transform the Embarcadero area into a world-class waterfront. The other three projects are Ruocco Park, the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan and Lane Field.
“We’re really excited because [the project] is going to bring more people to the waterfront and help activate that area,” said Tanya Castaneda, a spokesperson for the Unified Port of San Diego.
The 100,000-square-foot property will consist of three buildings, with an interior courtyard at the center. The plan will incorporate up to 30 shops and restaurants, as well as an onsite museum dedicated to the Old Police Headquarters. Completion of the project is scheduled for this fall.
“We feel like people visiting San Diego will see this as a must-see attraction,” Castaneda said. “The combination of the Old Police Headquarters with dining, shopping and entertainment, as well as views of the waterfront, is going to be an irresistible place to visit.”
The developer of the $40 million project, Terramar Retail Centers, collaborated with restoration architect David Marshall, president of Heritage Architecture & Planning, to identify and restore historic elements for the 1939 building.
These include: 27,500 roof tiles, wood doors, ironwork, light fixtures, 20 skylights, windows and 15,000 square feet of historic courtyard pavers. Additionally, the cellblock doors that connected the prisoner tunnel to the cells will be restored and fixed in place as part of an onsite museum re-creating the cellblock.
Nationally recognized as a historic property, the Old Police Headquarters includes several architectural styles: Spanish Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Pueblo Revival and Classical Revival time.
“We’re very pleased that Terramar is restoring and reusing a lot of historic building elements,” Castaneda said. “It’s pretty neat because they are transforming this building that used to hold prisoners and now are making it a lively destination and inviting people in.”