The Coast News Group
North City
A view of San Marcos’ up and coming North City neighborhood. The new downtown district boasts urban architecture, new retailers and restaurants and new housing developments, all with an emphasis on sustainability. Photo by City of San Marcos
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North City project focuses on sustainability, high-tech infrastructure

SAN MARCOS — Over the last decade, San Marcos’ North City neighborhood has progressively transformed into a vibrant downtown district boasting urban architecture, new restaurants and new housing developments, all with an emphasis on sustainability.

But residents can expect a lot more in the next few years for the city’s up and coming hotspot.

Located next to California State University at San Marcos (CSUSM), the North City project is currently just 25% developed. The end result will include 1,500+ new housing units, new retailers, office and commercial spaces, community events and a 20-acre Discovery Park in North City’s residential community west of Twin Oaks Valley Road.

There will also be affordable housing units available as the project continues to develop.

Although it is a private development, the project is a collaborative effort between the City of San Marcos, developer Sea Breeze Properties and Stevens Cresto Engineering.

Andy Tenn, Senior Project Manager at Sea Breeze Properties, told The Coast News that they expect to be working on the project for at least another several years.

“We as a company are focused on following the right path, not necessarily the easiest path,” Tenn said. “This project as a whole is really a long-term investment… we build something with a plan to hold it… and, with that in mind, we’re building for sustainability and durability of a project, which means implementing things that will benefit the project in the long term.”

This includes its high-tech green infrastructure, which features a built-in stormwater management system under the sidewalks and medians.

The developers are utilizing 1,200 modular suspended pavement units called DeepRoot Silva Cells, along with inlets and storm drains, which collect and treat urban runoff. These, combined with special grates and soils designed for biofiltration, capture and treat urban runoff and retain it to nourish 80 trees that were newly installed in the area.

North City
The project’s developers have installed 1,200 modular suspended pavement units called DeepRoot Silva Cells, along with inlets and storm drains, which collect and treat urban runoff. The stormwater management system is built under the sidewalks and medians to conserve water. Photo by City of San Marcos

The area also features established trees that they were able to save from being cut down, including a 100 plus-year-old 35-foot oak tree that now stands at the corner of N. City Dr. and Campus Way.

“We do build with ‘green’ in mind, it’s a priority for us in general. Sustainable materials, we try to buy and use as local as possible… we try to use recycled materials, things like that,” Tenn said. “It ensures durability and it’s making sure that we are complementing the city of San Marcos rather than becoming a point of potential issue.”

Tess Sangster, the economic development director for the City of San Marcos, told The Coast News that she hopes this project will continue to bring in people and businesses that will allow San Marcos to flourish creatively, economically and with sustainability in mind.

“North City is where we’re focusing our efforts on building a downtown for San Marcos because we’ve never really had a downtown,” Sangster said. “We have Restaurant Row, but we’ve never had a designated downtown area where we can show people how vibrant our city can be, so that was really badly needed.”

Next up for the area is a Mesa Rim Climbing Gym and Fitness Center, coming in the Fall of 2020.

“We’re looking to provide the next step for new groups of educated youth as their coming up. There’s housing opportunities, job opportunities, and the ability to stay and contribute to San Marcos,” Tenn said. “The development will help the city, and also being a focused sustainable developer and using contemporary styles and modern architecture, we hope it inspires others to do the same.”