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Developer hints at San Elijo Town Center’s second phase

Clarification: The article has been modified to reflect that Elizabeth Wosika wrote her comments on the San Elijo Hills Facebook page.

SAN MARCOS — For years, the three vacant lots at the heart of the San Elijo Hills community — the spot for the proposed second phase of the community’s Town Center — has become an eyesore in an otherwise picturesque master-planned community and a thorn in the side of residents.

Late last month, however, a glimmer of hope for the long-delayed second phase emerged in the form of a message on the San Elijo Hills Development Co.’s website that said plans were in the works for the second phase.

“San Elijo Hills Development Company is thrilled to share that we are working with an experienced and proven retail developer toward an agreement to build the second phase of the Town Center,” the message stated. “This next phase includes the open lot behind Chevron, the entire open lot across from the existing retail and the parcel of land directly behind Café Stoked leading up to Schoolhouse Way.”

According to the message, the company — a subsidiary of HomeFed Corporation — couldn’t provide specifics until it reached an agreement with the retail developer, but said another update would be coming “within the next month or two.”

The Town Center, which is the unofficial “downtown” of the San Marcos community, currently includes a grocery store, gas station and bank, as well as retail units on the ground floor of mixed-used developments.

The last portion of the center that was finished was the gas station in 2008, but efforts to complete the Town Center stalled as a result of the recession, which ground much of the county’s retail development to a halt.

Residents in San Elijo Hills took to message boards and the community’s Facebook page to react to the possibility of the second phase being imminent. Some were excited, while others were skeptical after nearly a decade of waiting.

“An update in the coming months? Uh okaaaaaay. I’ve lived here 13 years, still wondering,” wrote Elizabeth Gross Wosika on the community Facebook page. “That sounds like code for ‘stop bugging us.’ It’s really an eyesore.”

The community, which borders Carlsbad on San Marcos’ southern edge, has about 3,000 homes and condominium units and a population of more than 7,000 and includes a large elementary and middle school near its center.

This article has been modified since the original posting.