A group looking to preserve Seaport Village as it is spoke out at Tuesday's Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners meeting, hoping to sway officials from changing the popular tourist spot.
Seaport Village, a 35-year landmark, has been a prime sightseeing, shopping and dining destination for locals as well as tourists.
Port commissioners, however, want to give the iconic seaside spot a face lift.
Port commissioners have begun exploring their options to bring some 21st-century changes to the spot, which included hearing proposals for the area that currently provides $2.5 million in revenue as part of its master plan. One of those proposals was a presentation for a two-hotel project near the San Diego Convention Center by Fifth Avenue Landing.
Port officials don't think a renovation proposal by the village's current operator would be prosperous enough.
The idea is unsettling to many Seaport Village tenants and their customers who spoke with NBC 7 San Diego. "Save Seaport Village," a group protesting the changes, said they are concerned national retailers will replace current tenants.
"I hope that we are making an impression on the board and letting them know how much we really want to keep Seaport Village," said Melissa Moore, with Greek Islands Cafe. "We're not opposed improvement and not opposed to making it better than it is today, we just want to preserve it; we just think it's worth saving."
Areas surrounding Seaport Village, such as Tuna Harbor, also are in line for potential upgrades.
A dozen opponents came to the meeting, telling commissioners they wanted to see the village retain its charm.
"It's a piece of our history; we don't have a ton of history here in San Diego," said Annie Glenn, with Save Seaport Village. "People love to visit Seaport to walk around; it's free, you can walk around, feed the ducks, you can look at shops. It's special to our hearts."
Port officials say they'll be working through a bid selection process that could lead to decision-making within a few months. If they do decide to move forward with construction, the construction could begin in 2019. It's one part of a master plan on the San Diego Bay that involves a convention center expansion.
"There are developers who possibly want to get rid of Seaport Village and start from scratch," Glenn said. "We are not opposed to growth, but we would like to encourage them to keep a portion of Seaport Village there which the public loves."