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'The Headquarters' prepares for grand opening

New retail, dining center in Seaport Village makes it debut

Visitors to Seaport Village and the San Diego bayfront now have new shopping and dining options, as restorations have been completed at the historic police station.

Called “The Headquarters,” the new $40 million center on Harbor Drive has nearly 100,000 square feet of upscale shopping and eating options, along with an open-air courtyard, and is scheduled to open on Monday.

“Our vision is to be as contemporary as possible, like a shopping district lifestyle,” said Steve Bowers, president and CEO of Terramar Retail Centers, which operates Seaport Village and modernized the building, which was the former headquarters for the San Diego Police Department.

The old police station has been divided into 30 storefronts for retail and entertainment leasing. There are 23 spaces leased out by Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery, The Cheesecake Factory, Gelato Paradisco, preFab, Puesto, Starbucks and Sunglass Hut.

Most restaurants have leasing contracts from five to 10 years, Bowers said.

“Our team was creative and selective in attracting the right blend of dining for The Headquarters," Bowers said. “This collection creates a casually sophisticated destination for San Diego residents and visitors.”

Since it’s a historic building -- and listed on the National Register of Historic Places -- the outer walls were kept intact, and the architectural design was not changed.

The main courtyard features fountains and colorful landscaping, creating an attractive setting for dining and an area for live outdoor entertainment, Bowers said.

This modernization project also called for a 1-acre public park plaza adjacent to the retail center, along Harbor Drive.

Architectural design and renovation for the Headquarters was overseen by Alex Liftis, Terramar’s senior vice president of development, and David Ristau, vice president of construction, in conjunction with the architecture firm Carrier Johnson. Legacy Building Services is the general contractor on this project.

The building has Spanish and Mediterranean architectural features, popular in the 1930s and 1940s.

Terramar has maintained the architectural style and originality of design in every detail and employed craftsmen using the finest materials to enhance this landmark property.

With the assistance of David Marshall, president of Heritage Architecture & Planning, Terramar identified the historic building elements to be restored and reused. These include the 27,500 roof tiles, large and ornate heavy wood doors, ironwork, light fixtures, 20 skylights, windows and 15,000 square feet of historic courtyard pavers.

In addition, the old cell block doors from the tunnel to the jail cells are being restored and fixed in place, as part of an onsite museum.

Bowers said his company wanted to invest and modernize the old police headquarters because of its desirable location along the waterfront.

“We want it to compliment Seaport Village,” Bowers said. “We want locals and visitors to enjoy this lifestyle center and make it part of their day in San Diego.”

This historic building was constructed in 1939 and served as the headquarters for the San Diego Police Department until 1987. The building had been vacant ever since.

In 2009, Terramar started a portion of the construction required to complete the adaptive reuse of the building, which involved the demolition of certain interior walls to allow for retail uses and the cleanup of hazardous materials.

In January 2012, Terramar entered into a 40-year ground lease with the Port of San Diego.

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