Gary Nessim's real estate office is one of only a few in downtown Carlsbad Village.
He convinced the city's redevelopment agency years ago to grandfather the former mattress store into the village master plan, which now prohibits street-level office spaces in the heart of town.
He did it by demonstrating how offices like his benefit communities such as Orange County's Dana Point and other coastal communities. But he's looking forward to having competition.
"In the next 10 years, this village will grow enormously," said Nessim, president/owner of HomeLife Village Realtors.
"The city is hiring a new consultant to redo the current master plan," he said. "It will take about a year and a half, and be much more specific than the old master plan, which didn't work well. People didn't want to build things here because you didn't know what was going to be next door to you.
"The plan will be mixed-use but more specific," Nessim said. "We're trying to wind up with a core commercial area near the Coaster station, a nice, smart-growth kind of master plan. As this area develops and has enough demand with more people coming here, there'll be a Whole Foods like Encinitas just got, a drugstore coming in, and more restaurants will come. They need to have nice square, spacious spaces that someone builds."
A board member of the Carlsbad Village Association, Nessim has been actively promoting a new master plan for about five years, circulating petitions and assisting with redevelopment drawings. He's passionate about the future, for lifestyle and business reasons.
"We can't afford to let [developers] take all the really good [commercial] spaces" and turn them into narrow, shallow configurations just to have more parking spots, he said.
"That occurred with our old master plan. So with the new plan, near the train station you'll have commercial on the first floor, residential on the second and a few blocks away you can do all residential.
"You don't need a commercial component," Nessim said. "Because when you make people do mixed-use, like the whole village in the old master plan, no one will loan you money to build your project."
"So having someone try to do a side-unit condo project, and having to put a little office on the corner, you can't even get a loan. And when you go to sell the office condominium, no one wants to buy it, either."
On the residential side, 2014 has started well for Nessim's 20 full-time and 10 part-time agents. He's already hoping to add more staff.
"It's going to be a good, steady two years, so I'm planning on growing," he said. "We're averaging two home sales a week so far. We opened escrow on 12 in January and that's above our norm for us, so I'm pleased. We started off a little faster than other offices in the area, but I'm smaller and hoping everyone will do well this year."