New project blooming at Garden Del Mar site

New project blooming at Garden Del Mar site
A local developer submitted an application for a new, mixed-use project for the old gas station site on the corner of Camino del Mar and 10th Street. Plans are expected to be introduced within the next few months. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — New plans are taking root at a former gas station site most recently slated for Garden Del Mar, a two-story complex that would have provided office, retail and restaurant use.

Del Mar-based Kitchell Development Company submitted an application to the city for a two-story “flexible-use” project that will include office, retail and potential restaurant space and “residential hospitality” units.

Don Glatthorn, Kitchell vice president, described the latter as condominiums that would be sold to individual owners who could live there or rent them out full or part time.

Unlike a hotel condo, he said, the units could be used for permanent residency because they will be slightly bigger and have kitchens.

“There will be no restrictions on the owners,” Glatthorn said. “They can use the unit as a primary living space or use it part of the time and rent it like a hotel room when they’re not there or they can buy it as an investment.”

The development team is currently focused on completing a draft environmental impact report which, he said, they hope to release in the first quarter of 2018.

Community outreach is expected to begin during the first three months of this year, he added, when the concept and design will likely be introduced to the public.

The 25,527-square-foot lot on the corner of Camino del Mar and 10th Street was purchased by Scharr Homes and Buildings Inc. in 2006.

Because of its proposed size and the fact that it exceeded existing zoning laws, the project triggered compliance with voter-approved Measure B, which limits downtown commercial developments larger than 25,000 square feet until a specific plan is approved.

A specific plan lays out development parameters for a property and sets new zoning laws that supersede existing regulations. The process was last used for L’Auberge and Del Mar Plaza and was more recently approved for Watermark Del Mar and a proposed resort on the bluffs above North Beach.

Initial Garden Del Mar plans included input from a council-appointed citizens committee, the Gas Station Site Steering Committee, which held approximately 70 community meetings.

Community members sought to have residential units added but the developer declined to include them. The specific plan was approved by voters in the 2008 election.

In 2010 Scharr defaulted on its loan. The bank foreclosed on the property in 2013.

The EIR and specific plan approved for Garden Del Mar must be amended. The new project will require approval by the Design Review Board, Planning Commission, City Council and Del Mar voters.

“This will go before the community of Del Mar for a vote, hopefully in November 2018,” Glatthorn said.

1 Comment
  1. Mary Lou Amen 6 months ago

    My hope is the DRB will use common sense in regards to this project and the city council will recognize the necessity for business development in Del Mar.

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