Opinion: Carmel Valley ‘Main Street’ project would create much-needed gathering place
In response to Bud Emerson’s negative commentary on the proposed Carmel Valley “Main Street” project, I’d like to offer a different perspective.
Our community plan from three decades ago has created a nice place to live and work, but we still lack a true gathering place that defines Carmel Valley. The large property at the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real represents the missing link, as it’s the only significant undeveloped piece of the community plan.
This property was originally zoned for offices with no height limit – I envision this would be a tall building surrounded by a sea of surface parking. Luckily, Kilroy Realty, who purchased the property in 2007, has spoken with hundreds of residents and has a better vision.
The proposed Main Street will provide Carmel Valley with what we’ve been missing – something initially promised but not delivered by the nearby strip mall. I envision a place where families can go to hang out – a central plaza with shops, cafes & restaurants, and other attractive features. This type of place would add creative dimension to our community and at the same time provide some much-desired amenities.
Carmel Valley residents have to travel to Del Mar for a decent restaurant, and drive more than 20 minutes to do most shopping. A true Main Street will provide these things conveniently in Carmel Valley and at the same time give our area some character.
Emerson’s comments about the size and density of Main Street are exaggerated, given that the property is currently zoned for office buildings with unlimited height. We could very well see a high-rise office complex at this location, generating traffic at peak times, but offering far fewer community benefits than the proposed mixed-use concept. Kilroy will be putting millions toward improving traffic on Del Mar Heights Road, to fix existing issues.
I am really impressed by Kilroy Realty’s commitment to sustainability. They’re planning for all aspects of the Main Street project to be LEED-certified, including public transportation and local rideshares to further reduce traffic and pollution. They’re local, with offices just down the street from the Main Street project site, and the largest owner of LEED-certified commercial space in San Diego.
Emerson’s accusations about “developer scare tactics” are misleading at best. Kilroy Realty has been exceptionally considerate to community members since they first purchased the property in 2007. They’ve invited residents twice now to conceptual meetings, gathering opinions about what Carmel Valley would like to see at this location, and reworked their plans based on our interests and wishes. They’ve sent fact booklets and materials to show their initial concept, and have been very transparent with their plans, always responding quickly to questions and providing answers. I believe the only scare tactics being used here are by competing property owners.
It’s one thing if someone has concerns about a new development, but another when competing financial interests start throwing stones.
This Main Street project will provide a good mix of retail and office space, and in turn help boost our economy with thousands of permanent jobs and over $4 million in net revenue to the city through property, sales, and hotel tax.
Carmel Valley Resident
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- Carmel Valley: Public comment period on Kilroy project coming soon
- City updates Carmel Valley panel on Kilroy project
- Planning for new Carmel Valley shopping center creates a buzz
- Carmel Valley planning board letter opposed I-5 widening project
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