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.

John Jones
Carmel Valley Resident

Related posts:

  1. Opinion: Concerned citizens launch website on impacts of proposed Main Street project
  2. Carmel Valley: Public comment period on Kilroy project coming soon
  3. City updates Carmel Valley panel on Kilroy project
  4. Planning for new Carmel Valley shopping center creates a buzz
  5. Carmel Valley planning board letter opposed I-5 widening project

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=23257

Posted by Lorine Wright on Apr 14, 2011. Filed under Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Letters, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

5 Comments for “Opinion: Carmel Valley ‘Main Street’ project would create much-needed gathering place”

  1. CarmelValleyJon

    My hat is off to John Jones for a great piece on the Main Street project.

    I completely agree with him that this is a perfect opportunity for Carmel Valley to have a nice plaza for families and friends to gather. The mixed-use concept is much better than a high-rise office complex. I also believe the developer has done their due diligence by talking with local residents and listening to what we have to say. They’ve put together a real A-team of planners and architects that will ensure this is a unique, useful space.

    It seems there are some scare tactics being used by opponents – I’m shocked that they’ve put together an entire website. Makes me wonder where their funding is coming from?

  2. Bob Loblaw

    Bud Emerson is an attention whore who is best ignored.

  3. The primary objection to Kilroy Realty's Main Street project in Carmel Valley seems to comes from Donahue Schriber Corp. – the owners of Del Mar Highlands Town Center. Donahue Schriber has turned the Highlands Town Center into one of the most mismanaged shopping malls in Southern California. I looked into opening a restaurant last year at the Town Center and found that 17 out of 70 spaces vacant. I found 3 of the former tenants — all of whom said that the rents at Highlands were 3x higher than they had found in other shopping centers nearby. Worse, Donahue Schriber shut down the only movie theatre in the area as they proceeded with a construction project to give the Town Center a much UN-needed facelift — resulting in inconvenience for customers and further loss of business for retailers. It is telling that the Donahue Schriber website uses the Town Center as a case study where they falsely promote a 97 occupancy rate.

    The objection to Main Street is an objection to much needed competition. The arguments against Main Street are absurd. Rather Main Street will enhance local property values. bring better retail services and make Carmel Valley more of a walking community. The best thing for Carmel Valley is a rapid development of Kilroy's Main Street so that Donahue Schriber will either become more competitive or go out of business. Almost any other owner of the Town Center would be an improvement.

  4. CarmelValley

    I read Bud Emerson’s piece on this development and he made some very strong points about the negative impact that this current opinion piece does not address. One of the main points was the increase in traffic makes this a terrible plan. The traffic nightmare if this development goes forward will make this a place to avoid, not a place for the community to gather.

  5. Gene Helsel

    On the surface, Kilroy Realty’s proposed “Main Street” project appears attractive: shops, cafes, restaurants, an office building, hotel and private residences. As with many things, however, the devil is in the details. Kilroy is proposing much more than they are currently entitled to. The current entitlement is for 500,000 SF of office space; Kilroy is proposing 2, 077, 000 SF of building area which includes 535,000 SF of office space housed in a 10 story building (25% taller than any office building in Carmel Valley) and a 7 story building, 270,000 SF of retail, a 150-175 room convention hotel, and 608 residential units. Put into perspective, the proposed 2,077,000 SF project will be approximately 10X denser than the current Del Mar Highlands Town Center (Ralphs’ center). Another comparison is that the rentable area of University Towne Center retail development is 1,066,000 SF.
    Estimated traffic generated from the Kilroy proposal will be over 30,000 cars per day; the current entitlement is for 6,000 cars per day. Under current conditions, at times this area approaches near gridlock.
    For more details, visit &lt <a href="http://;http://www.WhatPriceMainStreet.com” target=”_blank”>;http://www.WhatPriceMainStreet.com.

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