Till O&O!

October 26, 2017
Reception & Ceremony
The US Grant
Tickets Available Now!

Historic Preservation

ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station

A thriving community for life and culture in San Diego, Liberty Station is a former U.S. naval base transformed into a waterfront urban neighborhood, boasting a curated collection of locally-based shops, restaurants, entertainment, cultural activities and acres of public parks and open gardens. Recent redevelopment has focused on the booming northern end arts & hospitality focused ARTS DISTRICT sector, a 100-acre section of restored barracks, commissary stations, and gardens, where project developers, McMillin, have curated a rich experience that blends the past with the present. Offering both convenience and accessibility to neighboring communities, the ARTS DISTRICT is home to the city’s most iconic eateries and cafes, retail concepts, office and event space, exercise studios, and artist galleries for traveling visitors a chance to engage in the lifestyle, culture, and history that makes the city unique.

Liberty Station’s 1920s architecture lends itself to the rich history of the time, inspired heavily by the Spanish Colonial Revival-style that dominated the era. Preserved in their original glory, America’s naval might is on display for all to see, with networks of arched walkways, intricate facades, and polished gardens all intertwined throughout the property. Influenced by architect Bertram G. Goodhue of 1915 Panama Exhibition fame, the neighborhood is similar in style to Balboa Park, with original landscaping designed by the park’s superintendent of the time solidifying itself as a centerpiece of historic San Diego. Manicured grounds tucked in repurposed barracks offer a comfortable spot for families and friends to relax and enjoy.

Throughout the new north end ARTS DISTRICT, various shops and restaurants have repurposed former military barracks while intently preserving vestiges of the building’s original use. The former naval firehouse is home to Fireside, a live fire cookery from local restaurateurs The Patio Group, while San Diego’s acclaimed brewery and restaurant, Stone Brewing, is built in what was the former mess hall and library at different points in time. Stone’s construction highlights the venues heritage in the exposed original clay tile ceilings and refurbished fireplaces that honor the early 1900s Spanish-style architecture. Next door, the city’s first-ever food hall, Liberty Public Market, offers visitors a glimpse of history and culture as they wander through the colonnades and dine in the historical naval base commissary, under a high-ceiling lined with the original hand-painted murals that illustrate a timeline of the U.S. rich naval history. Amongst over 100 art galleries, museums, studios and organizations, two outdoor living rooms provide areas for comfort and social activation. Blending seamlessly into the historic backdrop, a 30-foot whaleboat named the USS Brave pays tribute to the military history and doubles as a communal seating area, while nearby, lounge-style seating outlines the perimeter of a spherical fire pit where groups are encouraged to convene and converse in a campfire-inspired setting.

  • Orchid Nominee

  • Project Address:

    2640 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA 92106

    Project Owner/Developer:

    McMillin, NTC Foundation

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    McMillin, info@libertystation.com

    Project Architect/Designer:

    McMillin, NTC Foundation, obrARCHITECTURE inc.


  • Carissa O’Connor

    Our PR team works out of Moniker Commons in Liberty Station’s ARTS DISTRICT, and being situated in the middle of such a beautiful and bustling neighborhood makes all the difference!

  • Toni Robin

    So proud to be part of this project as we celebrate 10 years of opening our first renovated building. I’ve been involved since the beginning and the transformation has been extraordinary!

  • Alan Ziter

    Naval Training Center San Diego has a new mission as the great new Liberty Station neighborhood, with the 45-building ARTS DISTRICT at its historic core. The beautiful Spanish Colonial style buildings have been restored under the auspices of the nonprofit NTC Foundation and Corky McMillin Companies, with the design leadership of architect Chris Bittner and his team at OBR. 100-acres of former military parade grounds and parking lots are now new community gathering places. As beautiful as the buildings are, it’s what takes inside that makes this a “gift to the community” with artists, dancers, musicians, photographers, chefs and creative retailers enlivening this historic setting.

  • Lisa Johnson

    So proud of the amazing transformation of this historic property and thrilled to be recognized with an Orchid nomination for it.

  • Andrew Waltz

    It’s an honor to help support this project and fulfill NTC Foundation’s mission to build an Arts & Culture destination. Seeing truly is believing at this once shuttered Naval Training Station now turned vibrant ARTS DISTRICT filled with authentic San Diego local business and creatives.

  • Richard Opper

    This project has been transformative not just for the neighborhood – but for the region. Great job, all!

  • Amanda Martin

    I’ve grown up in San Diego my entire life and truly can’t imagine San Diego/Point Loma without Liberty Station and its ARTS DISTRICT. No better place to wander, relax, learn and come together as a community!

  • Shayna Johnson

    I’m beyond proud of NTC’s transformation! Working on property, I often hear how intrigued visitors are by the rich history behind each building and outdoor space. You can now celebrate a special occasion in the original library, eat in the original mess hall building, retire your military career near the same American flag you attended boot camp, and explore art galleries in barracks classrooms. It’s such a wonderful community and I enjoy seeing people make new memories here.

  • L Mamer

    I always take friends and visitors to Liberty Station and its Arts District, and without fail, everyone LOVES it. There are things there for everyone – from great restaurants, to beautiful walking areas, to the artist studios. The transformation in this area is wonderful.

  • Robert Scott

    What an incredible site. You can really feel the history as you explore the various Arts that make their home here!

  • California State Parks

    California State Parks is proud to have been part of the early growth of this very dynamic and creative setting, and the public is welcome to visit our Southern Service Center in barracks #26; a great example of historic restoration and adaptive re-use – reflective of the Mission of California State Parks

Contact Us

Contact Us



P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927

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Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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