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New Lowe's to go up in Carlsbad's Palomar Commons

The Carlsbad City Council has approved a Lowe's home improvement store as part of a new shopping plaza off of El Camino Real and Palomar Airport Road.

The 153,974-square-foot Lowe's will be one of the anchor stores to the new Palomar Commons, which will also have a gas station, car wash, a bank with drive-through and four retail buildings totaling 31,270 square feet.

The Palomar Commons site, which is 16.65 acres, is at the former location of the Olympic Resort and Spa, which closed in early 2008.

To complete the shopping center, construction will involve modifying the existing San Diego County Animal Shelter eastern driveway entrance off Palomar Airport Road by moving it 100 feet to the east and forming a new traffic signal intersection on Palomar Airport Road.

The new intersection will provide access to both the commercial center and the shelter, and it will be timed to coordinate with the traffic light at El Camino Real.

Carlsbad city officials anticipate the new shopping will generate $450,000 in additional annual sales tax and $15,000 in business license fees. The project's developer, Sudberry Properties, will pay for all the required site improvements.

"This project really addresses a gap in goods and services available to our local community," said Gary Barberio, the city's director of Community & Economic Development. "We're taking an under-utilized site and turning it into something that will serve the community's needs and provide tax revenue to fund local services."

The shopping center will have a Spanish-Mediterranean architectural style with natural colored stucco and tile work, and the landscape will have drought-tolerant plants

All buildings will be single story with the exception of the bank building, which will have two levels.

To make this project happen, the city council changed the Carlsbad General Plan designation of the site from Travel/Recreation Commercial to a new designation called General Commercial. The city identified the need for a new General Plan designation in 2003 after two other commercial land-use designations were eliminated.

According to the city, General Commercial provides for the development of a range of retail, wholesale, office and service land uses that do not fit with existing land uses because they are not part of local or regional shopping centers.

This new designation only applies to this project site. The city says any future sites to be considered for this designation would need to undergo a thorough analysis to make sure they comply with all the requirements and are appropriate for the surrounding neighborhoods.

No other sites currently are being considered for this designation.

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