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Innovative 'Make' project set for Carlsbad

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Construction is underway on the Del Mar-based Cruzan development firm's "Make" project to transform the 175,000-square-foot Carlsbad Floral International Trade Center building into a Class A office property.

The project at 5600 Avenida Encinas will be unlike any other office building in Carlsbad with which it might compete, as explained both by Dennis Cruzan, Cruzan founding partner, and Ann Bruce, company partner of finance and operations.

"There's nothing like this proximate to the coast," Bruce said.

The property will have open floor plans with indoor and outdoor workspaces designed to connect seamlessly, indoor and outdoor meeting areas, fitness center, outdoor amphitheater, outside dock area to accommodate gourmet food trucks, and a café that is being converted from a shipping container.

A second shipping container will be converted into a central distribution point for a bike-share service for easy access to and from the beach and other neighborhood amenities.

An L-shaped breezeway will be cut out from the existing structure and will be open to the ocean on one end and to community space at the other, while maximizing natural light to tenant areas.

While tenants had yet to be named, Bruce said they are expected to be both sports- and technology-oriented and perhaps other users.

Make will run a dedicated shuttle to and from local surf spots, nearby restaurants, the Carlsbad Poinsettia Coaster station, Legoland and McClellan Palomar Airport.

Cruzan, who is no longer with one-time partner Phil Monroe, paid $12.5 million to acquire the floral warehouse in July 2013 and took out a $7.2 million loan with Wells Fargo Bank (NYSE: WFC).

Cruzan officials have declined to reveal the cost of the project but said the financing is in place with the construction loan from Wells Fargo and mezzanine financing by Cigna (NYSE: CI). What was then Cruzan|Monroe teamed up with Cigna to buy the 305,000-square-foot DiamondView Tower for $121 million in October 2012.

In a testimony to the perceived strength of the Make project, Cruzan was able to get the construction loan and the mezzanine financing without having a single tenant in hand.

“Our ability to make something is what sets us apart, and we wanted to capture that unique human trait throughout this community-oriented space,” said Cruzan in a statement.

“This will be a one-of-a-kind work experience, uniquely integrated with its surroundings and built to foster great work. Carlsbad is home to many innovative companies, and we look forward to building this dynamic environment that will allow people to excel at what they do, make and create.”

Cruzan's project design team includes Rapt Studio and OJB Landscape Architects. San Marcos-based Lusardi Construction is the project's general contractor.

“This space is designed to motivate and inspire people to make and create,” Cruzan said. “To craft this cohesive design experience, we set out to design real connections — between the ocean setting, the indoor space, the outdoor environment and the culture of making. We are excited for companies from a wide range of industries to benefit from this community-centered workspace design and distinctive location.”

The Make project is tentatively scheduled to be completed by early 2015.

Cruzan also owns the two-building,126,560-square-foot Township 14 office complex at 12670 and 12680 High Bluff Drive in Del Mar Heights. One of these buildings, whose shell was completed in 2013, was a 70,000-square-foot build-to-suit for the Latham & Watkins law firm, which formally moved in last April.

And Cruzan owns a 110,881-square-foot, 1999-vintage office building at 2091 Rutherford Road in the Carlsbad Research Center, the 51,695-square-foot Pacific View Plaza at 5973 Avenida Encinas in Carlsbad, a 14,337-square-foot building at 11010 Roselle St. in Sorrento Valley, and a 14,791-square-foot building in the same complex at 3560 Dunhill in Sorrento Valley, among other assets.

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