The History of Liberty Station
Long before Liberty Station opened as a mixed-community of homes, military housing, shopping, parks, hotels, and restaurants, it existed as the Naval Training Center San Diego (NTC San Diego) from 1923 to 1997. The Naval Training Center site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the individual structures are designated as historic by the city of San Diego.
The base was closed by the Base Realignment and Closure (or BRAC), a 1993 commission created at the end of the Cold War to consolidate bases throughout the U.S. Through many months of discussion and public testimony, the base was transformed into Liberty Station, but it retains, in many buildings, much of the history of the U.S. Navy, for which it served for so many years. There are many monuments, museums, plaques and information available throughout the massive property that helps to retain the unique character and history of the area.
For many years, the property that today’s Liberty Station Conference Center sits upon was a combination of World War II era maintenance buildings, along with a sand volleyball court. Since the base began to close in 1994, much has changed in the immediate area, but there has been one constant: the nearby USS Recruit (TDE 1), which served as an office, training area and landmark for generations of naval recruits. She is a 2/3 scale wooden replica of a Dealy-class Destroyer, built in 1949, and for many years busy offices, restrooms, training areas, rope storage and other functions “sailed” aboard the only landlocked commissioned ship in the US Navy, but now within her “bulkheads” only quiet and nearby car and pedestrian traffic exists.
Throughout the first years of the new millennium, while work commenced at Liberty Station at many sites and areas, leading to its remarkable transformation as a premiere venue for San Diego, little work occurred at the approximately 35,000 square foot Liberty Station Conference Center. The original building designation was “Building 623” and the building was owned by the Liberty Station Master Developer the Corky McMillin Company. It was used on occasion for some public meetings and the occasional dance, ceremony or event.
In 2011, private investors acquired the facility and began to develop a plan for the renovation of Building 623. In the summer of 2012, the building was completely renovated, and was reopened in September of 2012 to the community. Today, Liberty Station Conference Center serves as an active hub and center for events, activities, seminars, education, training and many other uses for both public and private groups, organizations and companies.