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Carlsbad Village sees renewed development

Carlsbad’s former redevelopment area is experiencing new activity.

Christina Vincent, Carlsbad economic development manager, said the city has reinvested in the Village, which was the redevelopment area.

"It's a key priority for the city to focus on the area that the state took the funding source away from to ensure those businesses and property owners continue to thrive in Carlsbad," Vincent said, adding that the city has funded capital improvement projects for transportation and economic development.

The 90-acre Carlsbad Village comprises nine districts. In March, the California Coastal Commission voted to allow increased densities within much of the area; about half of the acreage is within the coastal zone. The greatest changes in allowable density were in the central districts, where the maximum nearly doubled from 15 to 28 units per acre.

Some of Carlsbad's current development involves repurposing existing buildings. The 154,400-square-foot former Floral Trade Center industrial warehouse building on Avenida Encinas is being transformed into an upscale office development called Make. Dennis Cruzan is the developer.

The property will have open floor plans with indoor and outdoor workspaces and meeting areas, a fitness center, amphitheater, a dock to accommodate 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 neighborhood amenities.

This artist's rendering shows the 100-room Fairfield Inn off Palomar Oaks Way. Courtesy image

The Make project will need to compete in a market that has a 20 percent overall office vacancy rate by many accounts, but the city notes that this is a considerably better figure than the 30 percent vacancy at the peak of the recession.

Vincent said plans continue to evolve at HG Fenton Co.'s Carlsbad Raceway development on the 147-acre site.

The site includes the 575,000-square-foot building built by the former Opus West Development. The building went into foreclosure late in the last decade.

Parcels that that remain to be developed, according to Cassidy Turley, include 15.6 acres on lots 1 to 4 on Lionshead Avenue that could accommodate 260,000 square feet of construction.

Lot 12, a 5.9-acre parcel, could hold 98,000 square feet of development, and lots 13 to 15 could accommodate as much 190,000 square feet of office and industrial development on 11.4 acres.

Cushman & Wakefield's second-quarter industrial report pegged Carlsbad's vacancy at 11.57 percent, with about 1.6 million square feet of vacant industrial space.

"The city of Carlsbad currently has more than 14 million square feet of industrial space and more than 4 million square feet of office space," Vincent said.

Vincent said that by the time Carlsbad reaches build-out, there will be about 4.6 million more square feet of industrial and an undetermined amount of office space, both built at a pace dictated by market conditions.

The 250-room Legoland Hotel opened last year and there are several more hotels under construction. Two are in the Bressi Ranch — the 106-room Staybridge Suites and 133-room Holiday Inn. The third is the 100-room Fairfield Inn off Palomar Oaks Way.

The city expects 2,360 more hotel rooms, bringing the total to 5,960, not including timeshares, Vincent said.

On the retail side, as the city gears up for the arrival of La Costa Town Square — with anchors including Vons, 24-Hour Fitness and Petco — this fall, the city and Westfield are in discussions for what has been billed as a $300 million plan to upgrade the 1.1 million-square-foot Plaza Camino Real.

Designed by Westfield and Michigan-based JPRA Architects, initial plans call for a 40,000-square-foot 24-Hour Fitness, a 12-plex Regal Cinemas and several restaurants.

The work will include removing the roof and adding several upscale restaurants and stores, Vincent said.

Construction is expected to begin this year and is tentatively expected to be complete in fall 2016.

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