News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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Pacific Station gets go-ahead

Encinitas may soon notice a new addition to its downtown landscape off Highway 101.  The project, Pacific Station, is a mixed-use commercial/residential development that will incorporate space for retail shops, restaurants and condominiums.

The Encinitas Planning Commission approved the project Feb. 1.

The proposed plan for Pacific Station, also called the Toy Factory by its developer, includes 47 residential units, 4,600 square feet of restaurant space, 37,000 square feet of retail space, 10,000 square feet of office space and two levels of subterranean parking, all housed within a vast three-story building.

Pacific Station will also include an area of approximately 18,000 square feet for a grocery market of some kind, which is included in the retail space allowance.

The total area of the development will be 105,244 square feet.

Although the citizens of Encinitas can expect a slight increase in the number of cars traveling near this site in the future, Pacific Station will be fully parked, unlike many other locations in the city.

Incorporating two levels of subterranean parking as a feature in the project means there will be plenty of parking to accommodate the influx of new businesses as well as their patrons.

Peder Norby, executive director of the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association, said that due to the increasing price of land, subterranean parking will become more prevalent in future developments.  He also noted that an increased interest in downtown development in general would have positive outcomes for the city.

“We’re going to see a lot more projects like this,” said Norby, who has been at his current post for 10 years.  “All projects have negative and positive impacts,” he continued. “Seeing a (big budget) project seeking to move downtown is a good thing; it’s like winning the lottery.”

The venture was put forth by real estate investment firm John DeWald and Associates, a company involved in many other land development projects throughout North County.  The firm began the application process for Pacific Station in December 2005.

Although the Encinitas Planning Commission has accepted the application for Pacific Station, official start and completion dates have yet to be determined.

The plan for Pacific Station meets all of the important requirements listed in the Encinitas Specific Plan, hence there will be no changes in the zoning for the location.

The primary goals of the Encinitas Specific Plan are to maintain the characteristics of Encinitas that make the city unique while at the same time provide an opportunity for commercial investment, private land use and successful economic growth.

The Encinitas Specific Plan was developed in response to the rapid growth that occurred during the last 30 years, and was developed through the city’s General Plan, adopted in 1989.

An Initial Study performed by the city determined that Pacific Station could have an impact on the amount of traffic circulation as well as noise levels in the surrounding areas. Revisions were made to the project based on the initial traffic study.

“So far the community’s response has been pretty positive,” commented John DeWald of DeWald and Associates. “I think people like the idea of a mixed-use space.”

The future site of Pacific Station, located at 687 South Coast Highway 101, currently houses the San Dieguito Art Guild, and was originally the office of the Coast Dispatch.  In order to make room for the mammoth project, all of the current structures that reside at the location will be removed before construction begins.