SOLANA BEACH — A mixed-use development on a 1.9-acre parcel many residents described as a longtime eyesore received unanimous City Council approval at a July 10 special meeting.
“This is the biggest no-brainer in the history of development,” said Solana Beach business owner Alan Mittleman, one of 21 people who all spoke in support of the project.
“There’s clearly no reason to oppose this project,” Jordan Beal added. “This has been a black eye in the community for years.”
“Without doubt it’ll be the greatest thing Solana Beach has ever seen,” Tim Sullivan said. “It’s going to connect us all.”
Solana 101, located on Coast Highway 101 north of Dahlia Drive and east of South Sierra Avenue, is a 93,764-square-foot complex that will include 25 residential rental units in two separate two-story buildings. Based on zoning, 36 units are allowed.
It will also feature 45,587 square feet of commercial office space, 4,142 square feet for retail, and three spaces totaling 10,562 square feet for restaurants.
The residential component comprises 33,473 square feet. There will be 366 parking stalls — five more than required — in a two-story, subterranean garage.
It will also be the new home for Encinitas-based Zephyr Partners, which acquired the lot in April 2016 from American Assets Trust.
The property was once home to a mobile home park and is now a weed-filled lot with abandoned buildings. American Assets proposed a three-story complex with 31 residential units, a two-level below-grade garage, and restaurant, office and retail space that included a market.
The View Assessment Commission did not approve that project. Zephyr redesigned roof lines and heights to address view claims made against the American Assets proposal, said Ryan Herrell, Zephyr’s vice president of urban development.
Solana 101 is proposing a net zero energy building with design features that will reduce greenhouse gas emission impacts. Herrell said Zephyr will buy 100 percent green energy from Solana Energy Alliance, the city’s community choice aggregation program.
A total of 54 electric vehicle charging stations will be installed and there will be prewiring for 11 more. As proposed the complex is consistent with city’s climate action plan, Herrell said.
Rather than offer affordable units, Zephyr is donating $865,000 to the city for affordable housing. Herrell said developers who specialize in that form of housing could seek tax credits and likely stretch the money further.
Had Zephyr chose to include them, the project would have required four units.
“Let’s get this project done,” Denise Rahmani said on behalf of the Condominium Owners of South Sierra Avenue, which represents nine nearby homeowner associations. “It’s high time.
“The list of benefits and attributes that this development will provide to the community is nearly endless,” she added. “It will set the standard for other developments in the community.”
With approval from Solana Beach, Zephyr can now go to the California Coastal Commission. If all goes as planned, construction could start in May 2019, with the project opening in fall 2020.
“It was great to see the community come out to the City Council hearing in support of the project,” Zephyr co-founder Brad Termini said. “As many speakers stated, this is a project that fulfills the community vision for Solana Beach and will be enjoyed for decades to come.”