Council discusses city’s accomplishments and future

Council discusses city’s accomplishments and future
Councilmembers discuss the $300 million renovation to the Plaza Camino Real Mall, during the State of the City address on Monday. Work on the mall is already underway and expected to be open in December. Photo by Ellen Wright

CARLSBAD— City Council gathered to give residents a State of the City address to highlight the achievements of the past year on Monday night.

After showing a short video, the council spoke about the renovations to the Plaza Camino Real Mall, the development of the desalination plant and answered questions from the crowd.

Councilman Keith Blackburn was particularly excited about the $300 million renovation to Plaza Camino Real, which should be complete by December.

He said people were skeptical of Westfield LLC’s original plan to invest $80 million in the structure, which hasn’t been remodeled since 1995 and does less business than the Carlsbad Premium Outlets, which is a third of the size.

“When people call (Plaza Camino Real) the Oceanside mall, I don’t correct them,” Blackburn told the crowd.

Westfield representatives told Blackburn they decided to gut the mall and buy out all the retail leases at a cost of $300 million, instead of their original plan to spend $80 million.

“When it’s finished it’s going to be something our residents are very excited about and very proud of,” said Blackburn.

The mall will include a 12-screen Regal Cinema movie theatre and a 24 Hour Fitness Center with an indoor swimming pool and a rooftop basketball court.

Phase one will be done Oct. 23 and phase two, which includes the movie theater, will be done Dec. 12, according to Mayor Matt Hall.

The mall is open during construction.

“I can ensure you Westfield is going to be truly electrifying,” said Hall.

The Moviemax building across the street, which is also owned by Westfield, will be torn down.

Hall also gave an update on the desalination plant saying that it’s ahead of schedule.

Instead of laying 75 feet of pipeline a day, workers are laying 100 feet a day, said Hall.

By this time next year the city should have a drought resistant water supply, according to Hall.

Council members also praised the Fire Department’s handling of the fires and the community’s efforts to help.

During the Question and Answer portion of the meeting, residents asked about expansions to Palomar Airport.

Hall said the Federal Aviation Administration is looking into the possibility of lengthening the runway to 700 feet. The biggest concerns are noise and safety.
He said with an expansion of the runway, planes would change flight plans to go over the business park so as not to disturb nearby residents.

He also said the county is looking into the addition of a crash zone at the west end of the runway, which helps increase safety for trafficking planes. It would act as a buffer that freezes planes in place, in case a plane loses its brakes or has another type of emergency.

Hall also said that the airport rating stays the same, meaning there would be no change in the size of planes allowed to use the runway.

“We’re not trying to land 737’s there,” said Hall.

The Council also addressed the widening of Interstate 5, which will help ease traffic over the coming years.

Hall said increased traffic in the area is due to more activity at the Port of San Diego, the border crossing and traffic coming from Los Angeles and Orange County.

The plans to add carpool lanes and beef up bike lanes will occur over the next 40 years. The freeway will be expanded to 12 lanes, six going each way through La Jolla Village Drive and Oceanside.

The video of the State of the City can be viewed online.


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