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Workshops to select options for new Del Mar City Hall

DEL MAR — As plans to replace the deteriorating City Hall move forward, council members at the Oct. 20 meeting narrowed down the choices of what else should be included in the project.

The three alternatives, which will be presented at an Oct. 27 workshop, all include civic uses that feature a city and town hall, a public plaza and the required 51 parking spaces.

That was one of eight options presented to council members. The other seven built on that by adding scenarios that include more parking and commercial and residential buildings.

“The goal was to try to pick the best three,” Councilman Don Mosier said. “This is a little bit like ordering pizza. You can get all the toppings but you pay extra for them and you’ll get indigestion, or you can just get the basic pizza.”

For the “basic” option with no residential or commercial uses, council members preferred the one that will provide 109 surplus parking stalls at an estimated cost of $12.4 million.

But it’s unlikely residents will support that alternative since they indicated at previous workshops they want commercial uses on the site, located at 1050 Camino del Mar between 10th and 11th streets.

The second option selected by council members includes 3,400 square feet of commercial space and 71 surplus parking spaces for an estimated $11.4 million.

The final alternative adds four single-family homes available for purchase and has 115 extra parking stalls, bringing the price tag to about $10.7 million.

The options and estimates come from Keyser Marston Associates, a real estate advisory firm hired by the city.

Another option prepared at no cost to the city by longtime residents Jim Watkins and his daughter, architect Kit Leeger, will also be presented at the workshop.

While their plans are similar, they include 9,200 square feet of commercial space.

Watkins said most of that would be taken up by a 4,200-square-foot fine-dining restaurant and a 1,200-square-foot café, elements residents supported in earlier workshops.

Watkins said his costs are also similar to those of Keyser Marston, but in his plan the city would lease the land for the commercial and residential buildings, receiving about $4.5 million upfront.

Council members said they wanted to present a no-frills option because it is the only one that will not trigger Measure B, a voter-approved initiative that governs large downtown developments.

That could add about two years and possibly $1 million or more to the project, which many want completed sooner rather than later because city employees are currently working in substandard conditions.

The workshop will begin at 5:30 p.m., with a half hour of social time to review the plans.

An introduction and overview will start at 6 p.m. and be followed by roundtable discussions on one topic — the strengths and weakness of each option and the preferred alternative.

The event is expected to end at 8:30 p.m. A summary is scheduled to be presented at the next council meeting Nov. 17.

The alternatives and information from previous workshops and public hearings are available on the city website.

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