SOLANA BEACH — As City Council prepared to vote April 22 on plans to update Lomas Santa Fe Plaza, Councilwoman Lesa Heebner begged the developer to attract upscale businesses.
“We are looking very forward to high-end tenants,” Heebner said. “Please, please help us get some very good tenants.”
“That’s been our intent from the beginning,” John Chamberlain, chief executive officer for applicant American Assets, said. “We had conversations with a number of those tenants many years ago. Because of the delays … they basically all said, ‘Don’t call until you’re done. Once you’re approved, let’s revisit the opportunity.’”
With the necessary permits granted following a 4-0 vote — Mayor Mike Nichols was recused — Chamberlain may now resume those negotiations.
The vote was originally scheduled for the April 8 meeting, but several residents said they were unable to attend. Some were celebrating the first night of Passover while others were out of town because their children were on spring break, so the public hearing was extended to April 22.
Most of the input at the April 8 meeting opposed reverse-angle parking that was proposed on Las Banderas Drive to the east of the plaza. As a result, that parking configuration was completely eliminated on Las Banderas, but it will be added on San Andres Drive to the south.
Raised landscaped medians using drought-tolerant plants will be installed on Las Banderas. At the intersection of Las Banderas and Lomas Santa Fe Drive, turn lanes will be widened and some curbs will be painted red to eliminate large vehicles, such as delivery trucks, encroaching into the left-turn lane on Las Banderas when they turn south on Las Banderas from Lomas Santa Fe.
About 6 of the 18.8 acres of the plaza, built in the 1970s, are being redeveloped as a “lifestyles” center, an industry term for a retail area that provides high-end shops and pedestrian amenities such as outdoor seating, public art, plaza areas and landscaping.
Almost 20,000 square feet of the existing building between Vons and Ross Dress for Less will be demolished and replaced with 65,300 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space, for a net gain of 45,513 square feet.
The project includes a two-story underground parking structure that will provide a net increase of four parking spaces. That includes employee parking on the ground floor of the garage, but not stalls for shopping cart collection.
Bicycle storage facilities and seven recycling locations for plastic, aluminum, newspaper, glass, cans and cardboard will be placed throughout the center, which will also include plug-in areas for electric vehicles. Trellised walkways, including one connecting the main plaza to the Starbucks building at the north end of the parking lot, will make the center pedestrian-friendly.