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San Marcos still has room for major developments

The city of San Marcos still has room for large-scale projects, although the lack of redevelopment funds may make construction difficult.

Along with many projects, the 214-acre San Marcos' Creek District Specific Plan was about to be implemented when the state of California eliminated redevelopment agencies in 2012.

While that financing vehicle is gone, city officials and developers are proceeding on the assumption the money will somehow be cobbled together.

Located along San Marcos Creek, between Discovery Street and San Marcos Boulevard, the plan calls for 2,300 residential dwelling units, 1,265,000 square feet of retail and as much as 589,000 square feet of office space.

Unlike most master plans, the San Marcos Creek proposal doesn’t have a master developer outside of the city itself. Lydia Romero, San Marcos deputy city manager, said the city will issue requests for qualifications as needed.

"All regulatory permits have been issued for the plan," Romero wrote in a development update.

Romero noted a key component of the San Marcos Creek plan will be a pedestrian promenade winding its way along on the north side of the creek between Via Vera Cruz and Bent Avenue.

Another component within San Marcos Creek is Main Street Plaza, a mixed-use proposal at 1167 San Marcos Blvd. calling for 66,450 square feet of commercial, 428 apartments, 53,700 square feet of multiple commercial and residential uses and 836 parking spaces.

The developer is Blue Band Enterprises of Villa Park, Calif. Calls to Blue Band were not returned.

"Main Street Plaza's application has been approved," Romero explained. "The project has been revised to accommodate a reconfiguration of San Marcos Boulevard."

Another city plan is its 194-acre University District Specific Plan on both sides of Twin Oaks Valley Road, between state Route 78 and East Barham Drive, near California State University San Marcos.

Local developers Gary Levitt -- who heads Sea Breeze Properties here -- and Mike McDonald have teamed up on University District.

The plan calls for 2,600 units of multifamily residential, 400 hotel rooms, 638,000 square feet of general office, 300,000 square feet of medical office, 1 million square feet of commercial/mixed-use, 30,000 square feet of civic/community uses, and 800 units of student housing known as The Quad.

The initial phases totaling 174 units of the Quad have been completed. The remaining portions of University District are still being processed.

McDonald is also developing the 19-acre Corner at 2 Oaks project at the southwest corner of Twin Oaks Valley Road and San Marcos Boulevard.

Phase I plans on the northern half of the site include 118-room hotel, a 19,000-square-foot medical office, a similarly sized standard office building, and 4,000 square feet of restaurant space.

The second phase proposes 35,000 square feet of standard office, 15,000 square feet of retail and 5,000 square feet of restaurant space. Another phase could include 129 townhomes.

Milano Holdings' Davia Village development, at 1001 Armorlite Drive east of the Palomar Sprinter station, calls for 416 residential apartments, 15,000 square feet of retail and a 1.26-acre park.

Final project plans are being processed, with construction expected to start in August.

Some of the city’s other projects are close to completion.

The 416-acre Old Creek Ranch development, at the junction of San Elijo and Rancho Santa Fe roads, is a master-planned community by Brookfield Homes.

San Marcos' Lydia Romero said all the residential units, comprising 401 single-family homes and 1,123 multifamily units have been completed at Old Creek Ranch.

“About 10 acres remain to be developed for industrial uses,” Romero said. The development was formerly known as University Commons.

About 500 residential units are to be developed in HomeFed Corp's San Elijo Hills, which is slated to have 3,398 dwelling units at buildout.

Richmond American Homes, Lennar Homes and D.R. Horton, Inc. are among the project's guest builders.

The initial commercial phase in San Elijo'sTown Center consists of a 40,000-square-foot Albertson's store, a Chase Bank, 12,000 square feet of ground floor retail and 12 residential condominiums.

The second phase of the Town Center will be the topic of future city workshops. Features may include retail, medical and standard office and live/work uses.

On what's known as the Leigh Hanson will include 72 paired homes and 148 courtyard homes on a property on Twin Oaks Valley Road north of Craven Road. Developer Leigh Hanson -- an affiliate of rock quarry developer Hanson Aggregates -- is planning that development.

As a result of the new housing, the San Marcos Unified School District has a K-8 school underway along the south side of San Elijo Road.

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