Naval Training Center San Diego (NTC)
In the mid-1920s, the City of San Diego hoped to strengthen its economic ties with the military, and offered more than 200 acres of land to the Navy at the north end of San Diego Bay to entice it to move the Recruit Training Station from San Francisco.
Throughout its 70-year history as a military base, the mission of Naval Training Center, San Diego (NTC), was to provide primary, advanced and specialized training for members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Naval Reserve. In support of that mission, NTC expanded to include 300 buildings with nearly 3 million square feet of space. In designing the first buildings at the training station, Navy architects adopted the Mission Revival style. Within a few years, harbor improvements deepened the channel and anchorages in San Diego Bay and added 130 acres of filled land to the Naval Training Station, later renamed the Naval Training Center. Development of the base occurred in phases, often in direct response to national defense priorities. As a result, there was no comprehensive plan for NTC, and buildings are scattered throughout the base or exist in small clusters. The base eventually expanded to almost 550 acres.
By the early 1990s, San Diego had become home to more than a sixth of the Navy's entire fleet. San Diego had more than a dozen major military installations, accounting for nearly 20 percent of local economy with more than 133,000 uniformed personnel and another 30,000 civilians relying on the military for their livelihood.
In annual payroll alone -- for both military and civilian personnel -- NTC contributed almost $80 million to the San Diego economy, according to the Navy's proposed 1994 budget. More than 28,000 visitors a year came to graduations at NTC, and 80 percent of these visitors were from out of town and contributed almost $7 million annually to the local economy. Beyond these payroll and visitor expenditures, the Navy spent an additional $10 million for base operation support contracts.
The end of the Cold War led to military downsizing and the need to close surplus bases. The federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission eventually slated NTC for closure in 1993. The Navy closed NTC facilities incrementally. As the military functions on the base dwindled, so did the Navy's budget. Fearing the lack of activity on the base would lead to security problems, the City and Navy entered into a master lease agreement in 1995 allowing the City interim use of 67 acres of the base site. The agreement was later amended to include more than half of the NTC property with approximately 75 buildings occupied by interim users. These buildings were subleased from the City to various parties including film companies, nonprofit organizations, City departments, and small businesses. In addition, interim leasing allowed the City to maintain the buildings and landscape areas at a higher standard of maintenance than an otherwise decreasing Navy caretaker budget could provide. The Navy officially closed NTC on April 30, 1997, and ceased all military operations.
The former Naval Training Center (NTC) will be transformed into a new urban village called Liberty Station. Following several years of planning, including extensive public involvement, the San Diego City Council adopted a final Reuse Plan in October 1998 to chart a new course for NTC. The area will be a gathering place where San Diegans can come together in an active, productive, and stimulating environment. New homes, parks, businesses, and cultural and educational facilities will transform the former Navy base into a vital waterfront community.
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