CARLSBAD—Caruso Affiliated has announced they contracted with Nordstrom Inc. to serve as the fashion anchor for the outdoor retail promenade they’ve proposed on the site of the Strawberry Fields on Cannon Road.
The L.A.-based company has spent three years in the city gathering input from residents through community meetings, online and through social media.
“During our three years of listening to Carlsbad residents, we have learned that Nordstrom was the topmost request from the community when it came to retail,” CEO of Caruso Affiliated Rick Caruso said.
Bryce Ross, vice president of acquisitions and development echoed his sentiments.
“Everybody when it comes to the fashion department store, literally 80 percent of the people say ‘I want a Nordstrom,’” Ross said.
The project, which doesn’t have a name yet, is still undergoing the approval process.
Caruso Affiliated has started a citizen led initiative, Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan, to bypass the typical approval process and give City Council and the community direct control.
The company has until the end of November to gather 10 percent of registered voters’ signatures.
The council will then have the option to approve it outright or put it on the ballot.
If 15 percent of registered voters’ signatures are gathered and council opts to send it to the ballot, a special election will be held.
At Mayor Matt Hall’s swearing-in ceremony in December, he said he looked forward to the project.
Councilmembers also praised Caruso and his team for the outreach they’ve already put in.
The Nordstrom store is planned as a two-level store to carry the full line of upscale retail offerings.
Other amenities that were announced for the promenade include a range of dining options from casual on-the-go to upscale farm-to-table restaurants.
The strawberry fields will be expanded from 30 to 60 acres and will grow agriculture to be used in the nearby restaurants.
The U-pick portion of the strawberry fields will also remain.
The site is less than a mile away from the Carlsbad Premium Outlet Mall, which brings in $2 million in sales tax annually to the city.
However, the retail center will focus on upscale shopping spaces and will not include discount or big box stores.
Ross said part of the Environmental Impact Report included an economic impact study.
The consultants concluded the strawberry fields project wouldn’t have a negative economic impact on surrounding malls or the Carlsbad Village.
“There’s huge chunks of Carlsbad spending that goes outside of the city, to Orange County, or to La Jolla because there’s not a supply of what Carlsbad is seeking,” said Ross.
In an effort to create an entertainment experience, Caruso is looking to add a state-of-the-art movie theater.
Ross also stressed the importance Carlsbad residents put on open space. The proposed plan will set aside more open space than required by the law.
After Proposition D passed in 2006, 50 acres were set aside for future commercial use.
Caruso’s plan will use narly half of that, 26 acres, for the outdoor retail space.
If the plan is approved, private funding from the retail space will go towards enhancing the 176 acres of open space surrounding the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.
The lagoon is currently inaccessible to the public but Caruso hopes to put in about three miles of trails and fund signage for education along the lagoon.
The lagoon trails will be accessible through the promenade and from Cannon Road.
In an effort to address traffic impacts, Caruso Affiliated is looking to spend $8 million on traffic improvements around the project.
The proposed project has set aside land along Interstate-5 for the future widening of the freeway.
There will be a parking garage to accommodate 3,000 cars. Visitors will require parking validation.
In an effort to further reduce traffic, part of the plan will include a bike lane along Cannon Road.
One of the major concerns residents brought up was the current drought.
According to Ross, the landscaping will rely on recycled water and they’ll use drip technology throughout the agriculture.
“Because of that, we’re actually going to be able to reduce potable water demand from the property from what’s occurred from agriculture alone,” Ross said.
The design will be LEED certified to ensure the maximum energy efficient practices are used.