Above: Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s new Skydeck is set to open in early 2020. The large dining experience will offer eight to 10 different restaurant options. Photo courtesy of Donahue Schriber
CARMEL VALLEY — The Del Mar Highlands Town Center has come a long way since it opened 30 years ago, and a $120 million expansion is the latest way the center aims to adapt to the ever-changing local market.
Residents can expect 40 new shops, restaurants and fitness offerings as part of the expansion, which also includes a “Skydeck” offering eight to 10 dining options. Pat Donahue of Donahue Schriber — which owns and operates the property — said the Skydeck concept was inspired by a trip to El Nacional in Barcelona, a restaurant collective known for its unique, spacious layout of different dining options.
“There’s nothing like this in the U.S. that I’ve been able to find,” Donahue said. “ … I think it’s really special.”
Skydeck is set to open in early 2020, with shops beginning to open throughout 2019 and 2020.
As part of the expansion there will also be a boutique fitness area, with five or six different fitness offerings including Stretchlab and Row House. Del Mar Highlands has yet to be a destination for fitness goers, and Donahue is hoping the area will attract the local “fitness-oriented” community.
“We think it fits with our demographic perfectly, versus a large gym,” he said.
The boutique fitness row will open in 2020.
Donahue said the “catalyst” of the expansion was the need to increase the size of Jimbo’s … Naturally!, the center’s southernmost anchor. The health food store will jump in size by about 11,000 square feet, moving to a new 25,000-square-foot space set to open sometime in summer.
The former Jimbo’s space will make way for two levels of new shops. The Skydeck will be situated directly above the new Jimbo’s.
The expansion follows the shopping center’s long-awaited parking improvements: a new multi-level parking structure recently brought 800 new spots to the center.
Donahue said the neighboring One Paseo, which started unrolling in March, has prompted ownership to “step up our game,” and hone in on what the local customer wants.
According to Donahue, it’s all about bringing the “whole San Diego experience,” to the Highlands, which serves the Carmel Valley community and surrounding North County area.
“Our goal is to make this a place where you really have everything you need,” he said.
More photos of the Del Mar Highlands Town Center “Skydeck” expansion: