The Coast News Group
This concept drawing shops the plan for the strawberry fields shopping center proposed by Caruso Affiliated. The retail space run parallel to Interstate 5. Courtesy Photo
This concept drawing shops the plan for the strawberry fields shopping center proposed by Caruso Affiliated. The retail space run parallel to Interstate 5. Courtesy Photo

Nordstrom signs on to strawberry fields shopping center

CARLSBAD—Caruso Affiliated has announced they contracted with Nordstrom Inc. to serve as the fashion anchor for the outdoor retail promenade they’ve proposed on the site of the Strawberry Fields on Cannon Road.

The L.A.-based company has spent three years in the city gathering input from residents through community meetings, online and through social media.

“During our three years of listening to Carlsbad residents, we have learned that Nordstrom was the topmost request from the community when it came to retail,” CEO of Caruso Affiliated Rick Caruso said.

Bryce Ross, vice president of acquisitions and development echoed his sentiments.

“Everybody when it comes to the fashion department store, literally 80 percent of the people say ‘I want a Nordstrom,’” Ross said.

The project, which doesn’t have a name yet, is still undergoing the approval process.

Caruso Affiliated has started a citizen led initiative, Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan, to bypass the typical approval process and give City Council and the community direct control.

The company has until the end of November to gather 10 percent of registered voters’ signatures.

The council will then have the option to approve it outright or put it on the ballot.

If 15 percent of registered voters’ signatures are gathered and council opts to send it to the ballot, a special election will be held.

At Mayor Matt Hall’s swearing-in ceremony in December, he said he looked forward to the project.

Councilmembers also praised Caruso and his team for the outreach they’ve already put in.

The Nordstrom store is planned as a two-level store to carry the full line of upscale retail offerings.

Other amenities that were announced for the promenade include a range of dining options from casual on-the-go to upscale farm-to-table restaurants.

The strawberry fields will be expanded from 30 to 60 acres and will grow agriculture to be used in the nearby restaurants.

The U-pick portion of the strawberry fields will also remain.

The site is less than a mile away from the Carlsbad Premium Outlet Mall, which brings in $2 million in sales tax annually to the city.

However, the retail center will focus on upscale shopping spaces and will not include discount or big box stores.

Ross said part of the Environmental Impact Report included an economic impact study.

The consultants concluded the strawberry fields project wouldn’t have a negative economic impact on surrounding malls or the Carlsbad Village.

“There’s huge chunks of Carlsbad spending that goes outside of the city, to Orange County, or to La Jolla because there’s not a supply of what Carlsbad is seeking,” said Ross.

In an effort to create an entertainment experience, Caruso is looking to add a state-of-the-art movie theater.

Ross also stressed the importance Carlsbad residents put on open space. The proposed plan will set aside more open space than required by the law.

After Proposition D passed in 2006, 50 acres were set aside for future commercial use.

Caruso’s plan will use narly half of that, 26 acres, for the outdoor retail space.

If the plan is approved, private funding from the retail space will go towards enhancing the 176 acres of open space surrounding the Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

The lagoon is currently inaccessible to the public but Caruso hopes to put in about three miles of trails and fund signage for education along the lagoon.

The lagoon trails will be accessible through the promenade and from Cannon Road.

In an effort to address traffic impacts, Caruso Affiliated is looking to spend $8 million on traffic improvements around the project.

The proposed project has set aside land along Interstate-5 for the future widening of the freeway.

There will be a parking garage to accommodate 3,000 cars. Visitors will require parking validation.

In an effort to further reduce traffic, part of the plan will include a bike lane along Cannon Road.

One of the major concerns residents brought up was the current drought.

According to Ross, the landscaping will rely on recycled water and they’ll use drip technology throughout the agriculture.

“Because of that, we’re actually going to be able to reduce potable water demand from the property from what’s occurred from agriculture alone,” Ross said.

The design will be LEED certified to ensure the maximum energy efficient practices are used.


Tess June 21, 2015 at 12:06 am

How about something realistic to illustrate this development, instead of shots of a little girl running across the open fields (that will no longer be there..thanks to you!) Show us your bulldozers and the carcasses of all the animals in your way. Show us the endless traffic jams. Show us the trash piling up and the water pollution. Show us your personal jets and the many meetings you have held with city officials. Show us how you misinterpreted “we don’t want a shopping center” and turned it into “we want a Nordstrom.”

Should we keep staring at the girl? Will the magic work?

Patricia June 20, 2015 at 5:57 pm

: ( forget the time the whole family go to collect the strawberry now think in buy clothes, accessory .
Afterward, that can export strawberry if can pay for clothes, accessory the can pay the same cost for basket the fresh strawberry .

Paul June 16, 2015 at 1:40 am

Take a look at the future of the strawberry fields..

Susan June 16, 2015 at 1:37 am

Let’s dig out more trails so Dorito bags, candy wrappers and soda cans can find their way into the protected habitat.

Bill June 16, 2015 at 1:35 am

What’s the price tag these days for a federally protected area? Perhaps the Lund Team can shed a light on this transaction since they so proudly contributed to selling Carlsbad to this developer.

Ryan June 16, 2015 at 1:16 am

Rick Caruso needs to spend a day in San Diego summer traffic and then only imagine what another mall would do to it! He spends his days on his mega yacht “invictus” and force feeds us more malls and traffic…must be nice!

Kevin June 15, 2015 at 3:38 am

Has anyone seen the monstrosities that Caruso develops? One has to understand this man’s vision to appreciate the negative impact on Carlsbad.

His motto which is “An attention to relentless” should be replaced with “A propensity for ruthlessness.” I know, it’s a compliment.

No Nordstrom, Caruso!

Carlsbad doesn’t want it. Carlsbad doesn’t want you.

Thank you.

Sammy June 15, 2015 at 1:46 am

If this project is so beneficial, why are Caruso’s people misrepresenting themselves when collecting signatures at the local Ralph’s and Rite Aid? Why aren’t they wearing hard hats and showing Carlsbad people exactly what they stand for? An architectural simulation of the Nordstrom shopping center perhaps? Why all the secrecy? And why are they hiding behind the “Save the Lagoon” and “Save the Strawberry Fields” BS?

Karen Somers June 14, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Oh no, please do not tell me that more open land is beong developed, especially for a shopping mall! So sad, San Diego North County is turning into a congrsted mess.

Sharon Corrigan June 14, 2015 at 10:35 am

We need increased public transportation (buses etc) in SW Carlsbad up and down major roads and from the Poinsettia Coaster station- ie Avenuda Encinas, Paseo del Norte, Poinsettia, Aviara Parkway, Palomar Airport Rd- NOT just more bike paths. We’ve got plenty of bike paths and no viable alternatives to driving.

Janet Lancaster June 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm

Another greedy money grab. Sad that people value consumerism over open space. Like we need another place to spend money on stuff.

Justin M Lakin June 11, 2015 at 9:41 pm

80% want a Nordstrom? …and of this highly scientific data, those polled number in the 10’s, 100’s, 1000’s…?

“Visitors will require parking validation.”
…translates to a fee to park.

“The lagoon is currently inaccessible to the public but Caruso hopes to put in about three miles of trails and fund signage for education along the lagoon.”
…I fail to understand the benefit to nature in doing this. All this leads to is further intrusion and destabilization of a delicate balance in nature. There are plenty of other trails in the vicinity for people to enjoy. Let’s keep this area one of the few remaining that doesn’t have direct human access. “The Final Frontier” of Carlsbad, if you will.

Kelly June 11, 2015 at 8:45 pm

Everyone needs to speak up at future Carlsbad City Council meetings. This commercial real estate developer (Caruso) is ruthless and is employing deceitful tactics to fool the public. The web of lies includes “saving the lagoon” and “saving the strawberry fields.” They’re gathering “A LOT” of signatures under false pretense, canvassing Carlsbad neighborhoods on a daily basis.

If they gather 15,000 signatures there will be a giant new mall less than a mile from the Outlet Mall. I fear this may already be the case and that any choice in the matter is only an illusion. This is happening all over the country.

Big thanks to “The Coast News” for bringing this story to the public. Caruso’s people are denying any involvement with Nordstrom.

Mandy Barre June 11, 2015 at 1:32 pm

OMG the really big lies are getting bigger- this project will ‘save’ water! Seriously? Putting in tons of restrooms and infrastructure will use MORE water by far! And the person who says now they can use this land, it is YOUR land already. Wake up and lose the elitist “we must have a Nordstrom” mind set…obscene really. And the traffic? There are NO traffic improvements that can fix that situation unless they are paying for a direct offramp into their project..never gonna’ happen! Ballot box planning must be rejected!

Andrea June 11, 2015 at 12:52 pm

What will happen with all those power lines?

Jack Johnson June 11, 2015 at 9:39 am

The 85/15 plan for Agua Hedionda is a good plan. As a Carlsbad resident I feel so lucky to have a top notch developer like Caruso working with our city. Thank you to The Coast News for this informative article. Really looking forward to this exciting new development in our backyard.

Mandy Barre June 14, 2015 at 8:24 am

The land is already preserved..this is going to be a huge drain on infrastructure including water no matter how the developer puts lipstick on this pig.

Mary Wright June 11, 2015 at 8:56 am

This is not a “citizen-led” initiative. This is a developer-led initiative. Sponsored by, funded by, and controlled by a huge LA developer. The Carlsbad citizens “sponsoring” this initiative are a real estate agent and a former Carlsbad City Planning Commissioner, both with strong ties to City Hall. Our City Council is supposed to be neutral on this issue, but they are already on board and ready to rubber-stamp it. Citizens are being misinformed and signing this petitions under fraudulent circumstances. Caruso is controlling all information on this project and spoon-feeding it to the media and the public. I’m surprised Coast News and other media outlets have not presented the other side of this issue – that there are many Carlsbad residents who do not support this project and feel misled. Let’ get ALL information and opinions on this project out in the open, not just one side. That’s the way the democratic process is supposed to work.

George Threlfall June 10, 2015 at 11:31 pm

How sad, we the people of Carlsbad voted to save this land in 2006, we voted NO to any type of development and won, but money talks, it can buy people, that and deception. This guy had NO intentions of saving any land for open space when he purchased it, he wanted to build a mall as big as the one in LA, but he ran into something called proposition D, so he used the Strawberry Fields as a bribe. The money they have spent on commercials, mailers and campaigning is ridicules, people thought it was all about saving the fields and signed his petitions under false premise. There is no amount of money he can spend to relieve the traffic problems because I 5 at Cannon is a nightmare now, just think about how bad it will be if he gets his way, his mall in LA attracts over 18 million a year, so not only will there be gridlock on the Five and Cannon, but there will be collateral damage (gridlock) on many of the other streets in Carlsbad as well as the streets in our neighboring towns.. The right thing to do would be to donate this land to the people of Carlsbad, all of it.. maybe then we would believe that he really cared and it really was, about saving open space. Until then, I like most of the people that have grown up here and have raised our kids here, do not support or want it, thank you!

Maria Leupold June 11, 2015 at 1:22 am

Thank you George. I am not supporting this project for all the reasons you mentioned. This developer is deceiving the people of Carlsbad.

Jim Boone June 11, 2015 at 12:32 pm

I believe the Caruso project will be a wonderful addition to Carlsbad. The designated open space will actually be accessible for walking and biking. It will be maintained at no cost to the City. Agriculture will not only continue, it will be expanded. The shopping center will be a place to go for residents and visitors. This project is a great asset to our City. Something we can be proud of and enjoy. Jim Boone

Teresa June 12, 2015 at 7:43 am

What about the traffic and the littering, polluting…etc?? Why do we need another shopping area?

Teresa June 12, 2015 at 7:39 am

Amen!! Very well said.

Promise Yee June 10, 2015 at 3:19 pm

Local Nordstrom! Oh happy day!

Maria Leupold June 11, 2015 at 1:07 am

Nordstrom would be better in a already established mall in Westfield Plaza with the upcoming renovation to open air mall. But why even erect stores when there is a Nordstrom in Escondido and a Nordstrom rack in San Marcos. Let’s not lose this natural habitat for the sake of shopping.

Teresa June 12, 2015 at 7:36 am

Completely agree!! It is all very selfish human greed and behavior, plain and simple. Leave the natural habitat, there isn’t much left!!!

Diana L June 14, 2015 at 6:46 am

Oh no! That side of town no one goes to, it would look tacky

Ryan June 10, 2015 at 8:41 am

Can you please post a link to the original image file for this concept drawing? Would like to look at the plan details but the embedded image in the article has poor resolution. Thx

Ellen Wright June 10, 2015 at 10:27 am

Done! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’ve added the photo midway through the story and it’s clickable.

Avram June 10, 2015 at 11:22 pm

do not find a better resolution picture

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