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Breakwater Town Center riding wave of change in Imperial Beach

San Diego-based Sudberry Properties expects to break ground by the end of the year on the first phase of the 45,000-square-foot Breakwater Town Center, a showcase redevelopment project at the strategic juncture of Ninth Street and state Route 75 in Imperial Beach.

Colton T. Sudberry, CEO and president of Sudberry Properties, said letters of intent have been signed by the future tenants of almost all of the 15 spaces available and official announcement of some tenants will begin in early fall. Among those in the first phase will be a 16,000-square-foot national grocer.

Given its location just a mile from the beach, Breakwater Town Center “has a lot of visibility and is a key intersection for the city, as far as where the highway starts to bend into Coronado,” Sudberry said. “The large population living in Imperial Beach and in southern Coronado and all the tourists coming into Imperial Beach are traveling right by the site.”

When complete, the center will have a mix of retail and specialty food restaurants, with local as well as regional or national tenants represented. “We’re also going to have a place for locals to come and hang out, a place for social connections … a community gathering place with our courtyards and fireplaces. This will be a first for Imperial Beach on that stretch of road,” Sudberry said.

Breakwater Town Center is bringing 45,000 square feet of shopping and dining to Imperial Beach. Image courtesy of Sudberry Properties

While avoiding the kind of themed development that Sudberry cautioned can become dated, Breakwater Town Center will have what he calls “subtle architectural statements that relate to a coastal community that are very appropriate for Imperial Beach. What we’re trying to achieve is a coastal contemporary, eclectic architecture that really celebrates the finer points in Imperial Beach and has a tie-in to the community and its residents.”

There also will be acknowledgement of how diverse that community is.

The market, for example, will have “a broad array of merchandise, including organics, and for the health-conscious consumer, natural foods. The store will be something for everybody,” Sudberry said. “At the same time, I think the price point of not only the grocer but the retailers will relate well to the diverse demographic.”

Attaining an encroachment permit from Caltrans to complete realignment of the intersection is, Sudberry said, the “critical factor” in starting construction of the center, but final action is close. “We’re right on the five-yard line,” he said, an apt metaphor with football season looming.

Opening Breakwater Town Center is another step in the transformation of Imperial Beach, particularly along the coast. Sudberry cited the arrival in the last two years of Pacifica Companies’ Pier South Resort and the Cohn Restaurant Group’s Sea180 Coastal Tavern as major catalysts for the makeover.

“I feel like in the last three years the momentum in Imperial Beach for improvement has been tremendous,” Sudberry said. “Better restaurants and retailers are looking into Imperial Beach seriously, where before they dismissed it.

“A lot of people are excited about more jobs in Imperial Beach, which will bring more visitors, more residents and more contractors. There is a lot of buzz.”

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