When I was putting together this story last week on the Bandwidth Bay initiative, an effort to tout downtown’s Internet connected-ness to entice businesses to move to the area, I heard quite a few mentions of NBC 7/39’s move downtown a few years ago as a sort of poster child for relocation to the city core.

I just heard back from the station’s president and general manager, Phyllis Schwartz. I’d asked her if the station moved downtown because of Bandwidth Bay.

Here’s what she sent back in an e-mail this afternoon:

… we did not move down here because of Bandwidth Bay but it was a great additional piece of the puzzle. We were in a rundown facility in Kearny Mesa and we had to get out of there. And we wanted to be downtown for other reasons as well. We wanted to create a local version of the Today Show with our morning newscasts outside. This building was one of the only ones that lent itself to that idea because of the plaza and the surrounding visual scene. The downtown vibe and physical layout of our indoor/outdoor studio has really infused an electricity into our programs and our people.

She mentioned the increasing energy downtown because of Petco Park and other projects in Little Italy and the Gaslamp District, among others. Schwartz said also that she’s heard that the station has become a magnet drawing other businesses downtown.

She said:

… businesses in general may feel more open to it because we have given the downtown increased exposure with the peacock on top of the building and some of the events we have in the plaza …

(Disclosure: NBC 7/39 is a voiceofsandiego.org news partner.)

KELLY BENNETT

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