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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Encinitas City Council OKs $6.3M purchase of Leucadia property

Surfer’s Point land had been slated for high-end resort development
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Encinitas City Hall. (North Coast Current photo)

Encinitas city officials are heralding the planned purchase of the Surfer’s Point property in Leucadia as a net positive for preserving public spaces along the coast, according to a city announcement Thursday, Aug.10.

The Encinitas City Council unanimously approved the $6.3 million purchase of the vacant Surfer’s Point LLC land, located at the northeast corner of Coast Highway 101 and La Costa Avenue. Escrow is expected to close Sept. 29.

“The City Council believes that the value to the community by securing the land as public property provides an intangible that makes it worth the investment,” a city news release stated.

The property, once known as Hippie Hill and the Storybook Houses for its eclectic collection of beach cottages, has sat vacant for many years since the homes were torn down in preparation for development that never happened. While the bluff across the street has since been reshaped into the high-end Alila Marea Beach Resort, the Surfer’s Point timeshares never materialized.

“This property is a high visibility parcel that will preserve a very cherished vestige of Encinitas’ and Leucadia’s character,” Mayor Tony Kranz said in the city’s news release. “The acquisition of this land helps preserve open space and meets the City Council’s goal of Evolving and Preserving Community Character.”

The total cost for the property purchase will be $6 million plus closing and financing costs of $300,000, according to the city. The funds will be temporarily transferred from the city’s contingency reserve. The city is mulling bonds for long-term financing of the land to reimburse the reserve. The debt service payments, with an estimated interest rate of 4.33% over 30 years, would be about $377,000 per year.

It’s the third time in the past decade where the city or a local nonprofit has made such purchases for public benefit.

In December 2011, the Nature Collective, known at the time as the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, purchased land at the border of Cardiff and Solana Beach for $3.75 million for preservation as the Harbaugh Seaside Trails, which broke ground in 2019 and opened in 2020.

In March 2014, after a grassroots campaign by residents, the city of Encinitas purchased the former Pacific View school property at the corner of E and 3rd streets for $10 million for use as an arts and cultural hub. Work on the site has been ongoing since.