"After 40 years, we are closed." A sign attached to the front door of the Mission Bay Visitors Information Center spelled out the unhappy news, as confused tourists milled about.
According to a post on website FWIX: "San Diego City Council today terminated the lease for the Mission Bay Visitors Center, which operated profitably for more than 40 years until falling victim to modern technology."
The center, located at 2688 East Mission Bay Drive, has been closed since Sept. 30, 2010. Lease-holder Ted Jardine tried to restructure the business, but the effort was unsuccessful. The center helped travelers make hotel reservations, gave directions, recommended tourist attractions and sold gifts, drinks and snacks, and theme park tickets.
The center had derived most of its revenue from selling advertising to area hotels and tourist attractions. For many San Diego tourists, the center was the first stop right off Interstate 5 they came to in order to plan their local itinerary. As the growth of online reservations systems became more popular, the center's business dropped off; gross revenues declined from a little over a million in 1999 to not quite $310,000 in the first nine months of this year.