A new CNBC series that pulls back the curtain on some of the most renowned streets in the U.S. fueling vital business is profiling a well-known spot in San Diego this week: Harbor Drive.
The Jan. 19 episode of “Streets of Dreams with Marcus Lemonis” will take an in-depth look at San Diego’s picturesque Harbor Drive along the downtown waterfront – and how the business happening there is powering the growth and economy of the city.
The episode was recorded back in February 2020 – before the coronavirus pandemic – so viewers will see an unmasked Lemonis walking along Harbor Drive exploring the ways the fishing, tech, military and tourism industry shape San Diego’s economy.
Lemonis spoke with local fishermen at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, including a longtime leader in San Diego’s fisher community, Pete Halmay. Last September, Halmay joined the Scene in San Diego podcast to talk about the local fishing community and how the industry was adapting to the pandemic. You can listen to that episode here.
CNBC said in the Jan. 19 “Streets of Dreams” episode, Lemonis is “granted exclusive access to San Diego’s restricted military and industrial waterfront along Harbor Drive to learn about the city's emerging ‘blue economy’ – an under-the-radar economic sector worth 1.5 trillion dollars worldwide.”
“To discover if this ocean-based economy could transform San Diego from a sleeping giant into an economic powerhouse, Marcus takes a deep dive into the city’s fishing heritage, gets an unprecedented look at how the Navy contributes billions to the local economy and explores Harbor Drive’s booming blue tech industry,” CNBC said.
NBC 7 spoke with Lemonis about his visit to San Diego and he said he sees a bright, strong economic future for America’s Finest City.
“San Diego has this powerful resilience to it and this work ethic that you see in some of cities, but not many,” Lemonis said. “Between the technology that most people don’t know about, the powerful Navy that’s right there on the harbor, and these wonderful fishermen – I believe the future of San Diego is not only bright, but it’s innovative in an entirely different way.”
“Streets of Dreams” – which premiered on Dec. 29 – comes from the Emmy Award-winning producers of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.”
The five-episode series takes Lemonis across the country to check out some of America’s most influential streets and what it takes to thrive in an ever-changing economic landscape.
Lemonis’ stops include Manhattan’s 47th Street (the diamond dealing industry), Nashville’s Music Row (the country music industry), Denver’s Green Mile (the marijuana industry), and now, San Diego’s Harbor Drive.
Lemonis told NBC 7 he had long been curious about San Diego’s “Blue Economy” and, in his words, “all these amazing things down there.”
“I was surprised about how big and developed the city was – especially the downtown area,” Lemonis explained.
The host’s first stop on his visit to San Diego was the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market on a Saturday morning.
“I’ve been to farmers markets before, but I never seen anything like that,” Lemonis said. “As I spent more time there, I realized that this is an industry and workforce that is quite frankly in danger. So, it piqued my interest and I wanted to pursue that a lot more.”
Lemonis said he listened to stories from local fishermen on the history of the industry and how San Diego is famous for pioneering the tuna canning industry. Nowadays, though, Lemonis said local fishermen have stiff competition from imported fish.
“And we, as citizens of this country, became more comfortable with imported fish, we started to the put the livelihoods of these men and women at a big risk,” he said.
Lemonis said the so-called “Blue Economy” is “not just about what’s on the water but what’s IN the water.”
“We can eat from it; we can learn from it, the science behind it – the ability to revolutionize things that are just right under the surface of the water,” Lemonis said. “And as you look at San Diego from a fishermen perspective, the technology perspective and most powerful the military perspective a lot more is happening inside the water than outside the harbor than anyone realizes. It’s a big boost to that economy.”
Lemonis told NBC 7 he was able to visit a local naval base, get on an aircraft carrier and even eat in the mess hall with U.S. military service members.
“I left feeling more grateful and more humbled by the sacrifices these men and women are making for our country,” he said. “I left pretty psyched; psyched to be and American and I realized how this particular community impacts San Diego.”
Lemonis said that despite the challenges the coronavirus pandemic has had on businesses across America and in San Diego, he is hopeful for the post-pandemic rebound.
“As resilient as San Diego is – beautiful weather, beautiful landscape – we know those visitors and businesses will be back in a bigger way,” he added.
You can watch “Streets of Dreams” on the CNBC website here, including a little sneak peek of the San Diego episode.