After 30 years in the planning, La Costa is finally getting its new shopping center.
The Carlsbad City Council recently approved La Costa Town Square, a combination shopping center, office and residential project at the northeast corner of Rancho Santa Fe Road and La Costa Avenue. It will be built on an 83-acre site that has been designated for a commercial shopping center in the city’s master plan since 1972.
Aspen Properties, which is developing La Costa Town Square, submitted the project plans to the city in 2000.
"After nine years of hard work on both the applicant’s side and the city’s side, we’re all glad we finally have a resolution," said Project Manager Pat O’Day, who owns O’Day Consultants. "The residents of La Costa deserve a nice shopping center."
La Costa Town Square was proposed to include 284,000 square feet of shopping, two office buildings making up 55,000 square feet, 64 detached homes and 128 multi-family units. After hearing concerns from community members, the City Council made two changes to the project.
The section of the project set aside for more dense multi-family units will now be single-family detached homes. The size of the anchor store has been limited to 100,000 square feet; any tenant renting more than 100,000 square feet must be approved by the council.
Restricting the size of the anchor store will eliminate the possibility of certain mass-retailers moving in, something opposed by some of the project’s neighbors, according to the city’s e-newsletter.
Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis said he believes the community will benefit from the project now that the council has made the changes. He said there was some opposition to it, but there has been opposition to every major project in Carlsbad.
"I think it will be an asset in the long run," Lewis said, adding that eventually La Costa will need the shopping center because of growth in the area.
La Costa Town Square is slated to include restaurants, shops, banks, gas stations, retail stores, small kiosks, a drug store, a grocery store and a department store.
The project will bring a lively main street and town center to the La Costa neighborhood. Designed to be walkable and fun, the center will connect to surrounding neighborhoods with new sidewalks, trails and bikeways.
The center could begin construction as soon as summer 2010 and open by 2012, according to the developer. Aspen estimates that almost $1 million in new sales tax revenues will be generated for the city, an increase of about 20 percent over the sales tax revenues now generated by existing shopping centers within Carlsbad.
Traffic generated by the project was accounted for with the recent widening and realignment of Rancho Santa Fe Road. Aspen has committed to pay $9.5 million in traffic fees, which will go toward street improvements, new traffic signals and synchronizing traffic signals.