MacLeod’s vision is ‘legendary’
Stroll down Cedros Avenue, soak up the ambience, enjoy the shopping and thank Sean MacLeod for his vision.
MacLeod has made an indelible mark in Solana Beach. His transformation of a 2 1/2-block avenue lined with Quonset huts, into a trendy shopping enclave, is legendary. And many agree that the Cedros Design District has elevated Solana Beach beyond its former surf town persona into a hip lifestyle destination.
The economy may be down, but MacLeod remains upbeat. A hands-on guy, he chatted about what Cedros Avenue means to him while hanging a spring flower basket on a lamppost, one of many now decorating the avenue.
“The business owners, the merchants, the property owners on this street, are my friends — we are in this together,” MacLeod explained. “Dave Hodges, Bill Burton and myself and the other property owners consider this our avenue, and as such we’re doing our best to make it work for everyone, to make it look and feel good for the visitors who come to Cedros.
“Even in a difficult economy we feel you need to be enjoying what you are doing,” he continued. “While there are challenges we should have as much fun as we can in the interim. If we do, then our customer base will enjoy the positive energy and this will make them come back as the economy recovers.”
The avenue’s merchants contrast with those on the street in the 1920s. South Cedros was a dirt road then with industrial businesses like Jay M. Wilson Cement Co., Union Oil, R.F. McKenna’s Concrete and Solana Iron Works. In the 1940s Bill Jack relocated quonset huts there which became home to an electrical manufacturing plant.
MacLeod came to Cedros Avenue in 1992. He recognized the creative quality of the craftspeople who were on the street then.
“While the Belly Up Tavern set the whole tone for the street, I felt that there was an opportunity for a natural enhancement of that unique eclecticism,” he said.
In the early 1990s he gathered fellow property owners to create the Cedros Design District, which has evolved to become Cedros Avenue Design District. From mostly home furnishings and decor businesses it has grown to include health and beauty, fashion and footwear, fitness and wellbeing, bistros and cafes, and galleries and gift ware.
A California native, MacLeod was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended St. John Vianny High School and was taught by Dominican priests. A UCLA undergraduate, he majored in motion picture and television production, then earned an MBA in marketing and finance from USC.
MacLeod’s profession is in real estate finance, mortgage banking and adaptive reuse of buildings. A recently retired world-class polo player, MacLeod now prefers to play tennis and work on his garden, “and to continue to improve Cedros Avenue as the creative community asset that it has become,” he said.
Save the date: 5 to 8:30 p.m., June 3, “Cedros Goes Coconuts” a beach-themed street party for the whole family.
If you’d like to share your stories about the personalities, places or events—past or present—that have shaped the culture of Solana Beach or Del Mar email Diane Y. Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org and your story may be included in her next Meet Your Neighbor column.
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