Development plans stalled on Carlsbad land

Development plans stalled on Carlsbad land
The land south of Avenida Encinas may be developed into a luxury hotel by the Kam Sang Company as part of the Ponto Beachfront Village Vision Plan. Photo by Steve Puterski

CARLSBAD — Two development companies are seemingly in a holding pattern with their respective design plans for a stretch of land that falls under the Ponto Beachfront Village Vision Plan.

Two parties have shown interest with the city to develop land north of Avenida Encinas, south of Beach Way, east of Carlsbad Boulevard and west of the railroad tracks.

Associate Planner Jason Goff said a formal application has been submitted to the city regarding the “townhouse” and “mixed-use zone” of the plan. Ponto Road south of Beach Way and north of Avenida Encinas bisects the two lots.

Goff said Shopoff Realty Investments of Irvine started the initial process, although has pulled back on its original designs after receiving comments from the city and nearby residents. The Coast News contacted Shopoff Realty for comment, but calls were not returned.

“They submitted an application about a year ago,” Goff said. “They have met with the surrounding community … working to redesign their project. They have not resubmitted an application.”

The townhouse area allows for 19 dwellings per acre with the possibilities for a small park, parking and landscaped sidewalks with proximity to the ocean.

The mixed-use area includes a wetland park, underpass trail, restaurants, parking garage, a plaza and a row of townhomes. Only 19 specific business types are allowed in the zone, according to the plan.

“They are working on a redesign not only to address the city’s concerns, but the residential neighborhood’s concerns,” Goff added.

The south end of the project, which is between Batiquitos Lagoon and Avenida Encinas, is designated for a beachfront resort.

Senior Planner Terry Delcamp said the Kam Sang Company of Arcadia submitted a preliminary application on March 23, while the city countered with comments in an April letter. She said there has been no further communication between the two sides since.

However, Delcamp said the real estate developer purchased the 14.26-acre site. In its initial proposal, she said Kam Sang proposed a 270-room hotel, plus 45 timeshare units with a restaurant, retail area and meeting rooms.

The company holds the Rancho Cielo Estates in Rancho Santa Fe in its portfolio.

“It’s something they submit to try to obtain information from the city about entitlements that would be required, if they’ve provided some sort of concept,” Delcamp said. “It’s not a formal application. In this case, they had a little concept book they provided. I haven’t heard anything from them recently.”

Phil Wolfgramm, senior vice president of Sam Kang, said the company is currently gathering information from the city and neighbors before deciding whether to move forward.

He said Carlsbad is in need of a luxury hotel, although the size of the project, meaning the number of rooms, may be scaled down depending on the feedback from residents and city staff.

“We always felt the Carlsbad area should have a luxury hotel product,” Wolfgramm said. “The area is high end. The opportunity came up for us to acquire that property there and felt that this was a good acquisition to hopefully bring that (hotel) to the area.”

The Ponto plan was approved in 2005 and created six character areas designed for the vision and included mixed use, beachfront resort, townhouse neighborhood, village hotel, live-work neighborhood and garden hotel.

According to the 2005 plan, the resort hotel would be located just north of Batiquitos Lagoon, while the Village and Garden hotels and live-work neighborhood would be at the far north end of the area.

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