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Oceanside developments attract businesses, homebuyers

Oceanside is the subject of attention from industrial and office users, investors, new homebuyers and retailers. One of its keystone projects is the 400-acre Ocean Ranch Corporate Centre, which is being developed by the Stirling Co. of Orange County. The corporate center is one of the largest business park properties in the region.

Realizing the potential of Ocean Ranch, Stirling Co. established a business relationship with the owners of the property, got the site entitled and hired David Onosko and Ron King of Coldwell Banker Commercial to market it. The strength of the development and brokerage team, coupled with the city's commitment, is bringing new tenants to the location, including Idec Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: IDPH). Idec will build 1.37 million square feet of industrial space.

Oceanic Investments, a partnership between Hamann Construction and Carltas Development, has purchased approximately 30 acres in the Ocean Ranch and has an application in for the first phase, which will consist of 191,000 square feet. Brokers for this project are, again, Onosko and King. Paolone Brothers have purchased the 12.1-acre Lot 4. A distributor has purchased lot 2A.

This month the city will begin construction of Rancho del Oro Road from Oceanside Boulevard to Mesa Drive, which then connects to Highway 76.

Location and access

The city of Oceanside's location is one of the business advantages that the Ocean Ranch offers its users. Oceanside is positioned to serve both the San Diego-Tijuana and Orange County-Los Angeles markets. It is one of the few sites in San Diego County with two of the "rungs of the ladder" and soon to be three: Highway 76 runs northeast, Highway 78 runs southeast and, in 2005, immediately south of Oceanside Boulevard will be the east-west light rail line connecting Interstates 5 and 15.

This commuter rail line will be accessible by transfer from any of the Coaster stations, operated by the North County Transit District. The Oceanside Transit station, located in Old Downtown Oceanside, has a staffed Amtrak station, Coaster and Metrolink. Today many riders drive to Oceanside and take the Metrolink to downtown Los Angeles.

In another three years, a commuter will be able to take the Coaster from the Del Mar station, transfer at the Coast and Oceanside Boulevard transit stop to the east-west rail line, arrive at the Rancho del Oro station and walk to work at the Ocean Ranch Corporate Centre. NCTD has already acquired the rail line, the right of way, the transit stop land, and engineered the transit stations.

To use the asset of the commuter light rail, the city of Oceanside will be conducting a transit-oriented design study over the next year to review mixed-use land uses around the transit stops. This effort will formalize and encourage a combination of residential and retail sites on land parcels around the transit stops. The transit stops will essentially be parking lots and platforms, but the surrounding privately held land will be available for mixed-use development to take advantage of the commuter traffic. The study will be complete in December 2002, and land-use ordinances and zoning changes will be processed to implement the proposed changes.

Strong investment opportunity

The same advantages that drew Stirling to Oceanside drew other developers earlier on. Payne Wooley Co. developed Prescott Business Park, the newest and largest industrial spec projects built in the city in the last four years. The first phase, at 270,000 square feet, was noted for its use of glass, exterior treatments and high ceilings of 28 feet to 32 feet.

The second phase of the project, at 184,814 square feet, is entitled by the city. This project is located on the south side of Oceanside Boulevard, less than a mile east of College at Peacock. Jim Spain, with Colliers International, has represented Prescott Business Park as well as numerous other locations. Other developers including Jack Dimond, Bill Shirley, the Clifford Cos. and Cornwell Development have built in Oceanside in the last several years.

Daytime population rising

The Prescott Business Park, the Ocean Ranch Corporate Centre, the existing Rancho del Oro Technology Park and the undeveloped 152-acre Phase II of the Rancho del Oro Technology Park are all in close proximity to the intersection of Oceanside Boulevard and College.

There are retail sites on the four corners of this intersection, providing day care, grocery stores, banks, dry cleaners and more. What Oceanside is lacking are restaurants to fill the needs of the rapidly growing office and industrial market.

Taking advantage of this increase in the daytime population is the Del Oro Market Place, being developed by Alex Zirpolo of Elkins Zirpolo. Listed by Joe Greeno and Reg Kobzi, the Del Oro Market Place is being redeveloped to take advantage of the commuter light rail line and the increased daytime population. Numerous other retail areas, such as the Quarry Creek at Highway 78 and College are in the pipeline. This site, the location of a former quarry, has space for either a large-box user or multiple users making up about 130,000 square feet. This is a McMillin project and Kay Campbell of Morris and Campbell is handling the leasing.

New home construction

The population growth in Oceanside, with 4,123 new housing units in the pipeline, is also fueling demand for the Old Grove Marketplace at Old Grove Road and Highway 76. The marketplace is anchored by a Lowe's Home Improvement, the Plaza del Oro Retail Center at Frazee and 76 with a 24-Hour Fitness, Savon Drugs and an In & Out Burger.

Old Downtown Oceanside

One area really in demand is Old Downtown Oceanside, the site of 589 new residential units either under construction, approved or going through the process. The average price point for the units is above $400,000. Included in the number are 174 units proposed by Catellus (NYSE: CDX) as part of the five blocks they own. Catellus is working with Citymark, a developer with similar product in downtown San Diego.

The Southland Co. is also working on an application to the city for the development of a mixed-use project with retail on the ground floor, office space on the second floor and 37 residential units in the four upper floors.

Still in process is the Manchester Resorts project at the beach and the Watkins time share project. The city is waiting for a Coastal Commission hearing date in April or June to review and approve some amendments to the Local Coastal Plan. The city is also waiting for the outcome of a citizen initiative on the ballot in November, which will determine land uses and revenue sources for the city-owned El Corazon site, the proposed golf resort site by Manchester Resorts.

While we await the Coastal Commission hearing and decision on the Local Coastal Plan amendment, the city is moving ahead with land purchases downtown to facilitate a beach resort, the construction of a pedestrian underpass under the railroad tracks on the way to the beach from downtown and new streetscaping in the Old Downtown area. The city has a contract in place for the EIR and design work for a 450-space parking garage. This will be a joint NCTD and city project.

In addition the city will install new landscaping and medians westbound on Mission Avenue from I-5, northbound Coast Highway 101 just north of the Carlsbad-Oceanside lagoon. It also has a design in the works for landscaping on Coast Highway from Harbor Drive to the Highway 76 intersection.

McVey is the director of the Oceanside Economic Development and Redevelopment Department. She can be reached at (760) 435-3355 or jmcvey@ci.oceanside.ca.us.

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