Petco Park is an open-air ballpark in downtown San Diego, California, USA. It opened in 2004, replacing Qualcomm Stadium as the home park of Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres. Before then, the Padres shared Qualcomm Stadium with the National Football League's San Diego Chargers. Petco Park is named after the pet supplies retailer Petco, which is based in San Diego and paid for the naming rights.
The ballpark is located between 7th and 10th avenues, south of J Street. The southern side of the stadium is bounded by San Diego Trolley light rail tracks along the north side of Harbor Drive (which serve the adjacent San Diego Convention Center). The portion of K Street between 7th and 10th is now closed to automobiles and serves as a pedestrian promenade along the back of the left and center field outfield seating (and also provides access to the "Park at the Park" behind center field). Two of the stadium's outfield entrance areas are located at K Street's intersections with 7th and 10th Avenues. The main entrance, behind home plate, is at the south end of Park Boulevard (at Imperial) and faces the San Diego Trolley 12th & Imperial Transit Center.
The ballpark was constructed by San Diego Ballpark Builders, a partnership with Clark Construction, Nielsen Dillingham and Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc. The construction cost of over $450 million was partially funded by the Center City Development Corporation and the San Diego Redevelopment Agency. The stadium was intended to be part of a comprehensive plan to revitalize San Diego's aging downtown, particularly the East Village area. The stadium is located across Harbor Drive from the San Diego Convention Center, and its main entrance behind home plate is located two blocks from the downtown terminal of the San Diego Trolley light rail system.
The ballpark was originally scheduled to open for the 2002 season; however, construction was temporarily suspended for legal and political reasons. One portion of this was a court decision which nullified a ballot proposition which had already been passed (approving the city's portion of the stadium financing package), and required that the proposition be put to the voters a second time. Another delay resulted from the Western Metal Supply Co. building having been declared a historic landmark in 1978, which prevented its demolition. After court hearings, it was determined that its landmark status only applies to the exterior facade, as it was supported entirely by panoramic photographs of the early San Diego skyline, and the building was renovated and included in the stadium design in an example of facadism and adaptive reuse. The resulting delays required the Padres to play the 2002 and 2003 seasons at Qualcomm Stadium.
Due to lack of space in the Convention Center, Comic-Con International and other companies associated with entertainment were allowed hosts activities inside Petco Park. These include parties, panels, award ceremonies and most notably the annual Zombie walk which began in 2012.
Features and design
Petco Park differentiates itself from many other Major League ballparks built in the same era by eschewing "retro"-style red brick and green seats. The stadium is clad in Indian sandstone and stucco; its exposed steel is painted white and the 42,445 fixed seats are dark blue. The design is meant to evoke the sandy color of San Diego cliffs and beaches, the blue of the ocean, and the white sails of boats on the nearby bay. Architects Populous (née HOK Sport) and Antoine Predock's design pulled restaurants, administrative offices and other amenities away from the seating bowl itself into other buildings surrounding the bowl.
As a result, the ballpark's concourses are open not only to the playing field but also to the surrounding city. Unlike many outdoor ballparks, in which the batter faces northeast, at Petco the batter faces due north, and fans in the grandstands are treated to a view of San Diego Bay and the San Diego skyline beyond the left field seats, as well as a view of Balboa Park, which contains the San Diego Zoo, beyond center field. The San Diego Union-Tribune honored the ballpark in 2006 with an Orchid award for its design.
The official address of Petco Park is 19 Tony Gwynn Way, in honor of the eight-time National League batting champion who wore that uniform number during his entire major league career with the Padres. A 10-foot (3.0 m) statue of Gwynn was unveiled on the stadium grounds on July 21, 2007.
The "Park at the Park", a grassy berm sloping above the outfield fence, is open during game time, allowing fans to sit and watch games for a small price of $5. When no games are being played, the Park at the Park serves as a free local park for area residents. An unusual feature that Petco Park once had is the home team bullpen is located behind the left-center field wall while the bullpen for the visiting is in foul territory in right field. However, both bullpens will be behind the left-center field wall after modifications to the ballpark are made prior to the start of the 2013 season. As of the 2012 season, the Park at the Park area also plays host to a semi-permanent stage used by the Padres' new broadcaster, Fox Sports San Diego, for pre-game and post-game programming.
There are a total of 5,000 club seats and 58 luxury suites at the ballpark. There is Petco Park Tour program that allows attendants to look around normally off-limits parts of the park including the press room and dugout. Petco Parking is handled by Ace Parking Management Inc and are located on the west side of the ballpark at 6th Avenue and K Street. On the east side of the ballpark, guests may use the lot at 10th Avenue and Park Boulevard. The drop-off for private charter buses is located on the west side of 14th Street between K St. and Imperial Avenue (enter on K St. side).