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A rendering of the Moonlight Mixed-Use Project in Leucadia.
A rendering of the Moonlight Mixed-Use Project in Leucadia. Rendering by Funf Ventures
Cities Encinitas Encinitas Featured News

Developer unveils renderings for Captain Keno’s rebuild project

ENCINITAS — The developer who purchased Captain Keno’s Restaurant and neighboring Portofino Beach Inn has shared new renderings exclusively with The Coast News, revealing a bright and colorful plan to redevelop the iconic Leucadia landmarks along Coast Highway 101.

In November, local developer Adam Robinson, owner of RAF Pacifica Group, purchased Captain Keno’s and Portofino Beach Inn with plans to redevelop the properties into the Moonlight Mixed-Use project.

Robinson previously told The Coast News the proposal will abide by all development regulations outlined within the city’s general plan, such as not exceeding 30 feet in height, to avoid triggering a vote under Proposition A and keep the project focused on the community.

The development, a partnership between RPG and SmithGroup architecture firm, will also have two floors of underground parking with hundreds of parking spots, office spaces and residential “micro-units,” which are smaller, more affordable apartments.

The project will adopt sustainable design strategies, including rooftop solar panels to supplement energy use and power electric vehicle charging stations and gardens throughout “to channel and filter rainwater from a series of sloped roofs,” according to SmithGroup’s design narrative provided to the city.

Over the past two months, Robinson has shown the new renderings to locals and is hoping to receive more feedback.

“I want feedback,” Robinson said. “We’re willing to implement as much of the feedback into the project that makes sense as possible. We’re building this in Leucadia for businesses that want to be in Leucadia.”

A rendering of RPG's Moonlight Mixed-Use Project.
A rendering of RPG’s Moonlight Mixed-Use Project. Rendering by Funf Ventures

For example, Robinson said some residents who have seen the renderings have expressed a desire for more mature trees in front of the property, which Robinson said his staff is currently looking into.

However, Robinson said he wouldn’t expect there to be too many radical changes in the final construction.

“I am happy to say that — you know I’ve built around two million square feet — usually the real product ends up looking better than the renderings,” Robinson said. “The city could still have some comments on the design and some colors and things like that but our ultimate goal is to have the end product look very close to these renderings.”

Robinson also said the building’s murals will be specifically related to Leucadia. The mural designs on the renderings were done by local muralists hired by RPG who will also work on the final murals.

The project will include a bar named after its predecessor and longtime Encinitas landmark, Captain Keno’s, which will be demolished for the new development. Robinson purchased former owner Gerry Sova’s liquor license for Keno’s and will incorporate as much memorabilia from the current location as possible.

After obtaining the necessary permits, Robinson expects the bar to be completed by 2025.

A rendering of RPG's Moonlight Mixed-Use Project.
A rendering of RPG’s Moonlight Mixed-Use Project. Rendering by Funf Ventures

“When we get to the actual design of the bar area we’ll try to implement it as much as we can,” Robinson said. “I’d say at the very least we’ll have some memorabilia and photos on the walls but we’ll probably introduce some other aspect of the restaurant as well”

The interior designs are on the back burner for now as RPG works to finalize all of the external designs with the city. RPG is still in its first round of reviews with city staff and will still have to go in front of the city’s Planning Commission before receiving final approval from the Encinitas City Council, probably in 2023.

“We have this whole year to go through everything on the exterior design,” Robinson said.

RPG is also planning on hosting a public Citizen Participation Program through the city’s Department of Development Services to get more feedback from residents on the project in the near future.

“This is something we want to own for a long time so we want it to be high quality and receptive to the community,” Robinson said.

As of now, the program does not have a date but Robinson hopes to get one scheduled within the next 60 days.

4 comments

tamarwitt January 8, 2022 at 9:17 am

Here’s some feedback: stop destroying the character of our city. The whole “Keno’s Bar” concept is an absolute insult…”They took all the trees and put em in a tree museum….” Ruin a different city, please.

ronbellevue3 January 7, 2022 at 9:27 pm

This is a joke right? Is it April Fools Day?

Is Encinitas now Miami? Do we live in LA? Did the designers at Disney put this together?

The only way this gets approved is if someone is on the take. If it does get approved, then the current mayor and every member of the city council will need to be voted out next election cycle. Enough of this BS already!

surfsail January 7, 2022 at 6:48 am

Looks like Tijuana! Featureless blocks of cheap purple housing. If I close my eyes I see gang graffiti, and $1 tacos on every corner…

steve333 January 6, 2022 at 6:38 pm

My eyes!
If I close my eyes I can still see pre-Blakespear Encinitas

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