New restaurants and businesses are set to go up in the San Elijo Town Center. Photo via Facebook
Cities Community Community News Region San Marcos

‘Heart’ of town nearly full in San Marcos after slow growth

SAN MARCOS — The city of San Marcos continues to see record growth especially in one development that is nearing completion.  The community of San Elijo Hills is blossoming, especially around the heart of its community known as the San Elijo Town Center.

Two new restaurants will be opening in the next couple of months and next year construction will begin to offer a variety of office spaces. 

One restaurant will offer Spanish cuisine inspired from Barcelona while another will feature traditional American food with recipes from Colorado. The restaurateurs are looking to provide more upscale, finer cuisine compared to the casual dining currently offered on the town square according to Duncan Budinger, director of retail development from Ambient Communities.

“It will have a completely different cuisine and will be a completely different experience too,” he said. “This is going to be date night. You are going to take your wife or significant other. You can sit on the patio.”

Plus, more options for small retail businesses will be coming soon too when construction begins on a lot owned by Ambient adjacent to the square.  Some of the options for the space include a fitness center, veterinary office, cryotherapy and physical therapy. 

“I’d say somewhere at the end of the first quarter of next year we will probably break ground,” Budinger said. “We’d like to create a space for weddings and small events for rentals.”

Several folks have expressed an interest in a sushi bar but Budinger said convincing some small businesses to lease a space and see the bigger picture has been difficult. “Convincing retailers that there is market here for them is a challenge,” he said. “They see this as just a small little place. There’s not enough people around to support the business.”

“The restaurants that are there now have done really well,” Tess Sangster from the city of San Marcos Economic Development division said. “I think it’s been a little harder to lease out quickly because I think people or potential tenants have a hard time anticipating how much visibility they are going to have.”

There are 33,000 homes in the area and many drivers cut through the area. However, marketers would like to make it a destination after years of working to make the development a success.

“We’re trying to draw people over the hill to North City, our new downtown,” Sangster said. She estimates it’s a slow process but worth the wait.

Hallmark Communities recently sold four of its 12 townhomes located directly off the square and has a vacant lot adjacent to the square for future development.

“They put some promotional end of the year pricing on some of the larger units,” said Stacy Green, representing Hallmark Communities. Green noted Hallmark didn’t want to speculate on a timeline for phase 2.

The townhomes are the last of the new home construction slated to be available in the San Elijo Hills community. Plus, the new restaurants will fill the last of the vacancies on the square.

“From the city’s perspective we are really feeling like things are kind of completing, the development is starting to finally come together and will wrap up,” Sangster said.

1 comment

Steve November 16, 2019 at 10:30 am

You forgot to mention the horrible traffic and the poorly planned roads that center around the San Elijo town center. About the worst traffic planning I have seen, including the school that is about 20 feet from main roads. The congestion is unbelievable!!! How this stuff passes environmental impact reports I don’t know (actually I do know, developers always get what they want and the city doesn’t care). Yes, I am bitter but have to live with this every day.

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