Del Mar Highlands Town Center rejects Kilroy offer

By Karen Billing

Kilroy Realty recently made a proposal to One Paseo’s potential future neighbor across the street, Del Mar Highlands Town Center. Kilroy offered to build the Highlands a $5 million parking garage to alleviate that center’s parking issues in exchange for the Highlands giving up its 150,000 square feet of entitlements (entitlements mandate the permitted building types that may be constructed on a property). Del Mar Highlands’ owner Donahue Schriber has rejected the offer.

Bob Little, Kilroy Realty vice president of development, said he is disappointed that Donahue Schriber turned down Kilroy’s offer.

“We proposed building a parking structure on their site to make a significant improvement to their parking situation which everyone in the community talks about constantly as a problem,” Little said, saying Kilroy would get nothing out of the garage except provide a “huge community benefit” by improving the Highlands’ parking situation. Little added that as the Highlands is entitled to build an additional 150,000 square feet on its property, that additional square footage will bring more cars, more daily trips. So by retiring that entitlement, it would save Carmel Vally from having even more cars on its roads.

“It’s too bad they declined without consideration for the community’s needs,” Little said.

Elizabeth Schreiber, vice president and general manager of Del Mar Highlands Town Center, said she is disappointed that Kilroy is attempting to shift focus from its own problems onto Del Mar Highlands.

“Donahue Schriber is disappointed that Kilroy continues to employ tactics seeking to deflect their impacts onto others, rather than scaling back their project as per the community’s request and offering real solutions to the concerns of Carmel Valley residents and businesses,” Schreiber said.

Little said the parking garage proposal was made as a result of a Carmel Valley Community Planning Board suggestion that the two property owners speak to each other about how to deal with the future retail entitlement at the Highlands.

On March 13, John Kilroy sent a letter to Patrick Donahue, the chairman and chief executive officer for Donahue Schriber, making the initial offer.

Kilroy stated that the Highlands’ increase in square footage has “created a parking deficiency that cannot be solved in its current configuration and is a significant concern to both your customers and tenants.”

Kilroy proposed increasing the existing parking supply by 330 cars with a Kilroy-funded, two-level parking garage at the back of the Highlands Center.

Donahue responded to Kilroy’s letter on March 21, “respectfully declining.”

“We are exploring plans to build out much of our remaining entitlement, which would likely include the construction of our own parking garage if and when we were to proceed,” Donahue wrote.

He said the Highlands’ recent remodel increased the parking at the center by nearly 200 stalls and they continue to study ways to improve and enhance the experience for Highlands’ customers.

“Frankly, we don’t think the parking at Del Mar Highlands has anything to do with your One Paseo project,” Donahue wrote, noting that they have met with Kilroy on a number of occasions to express their concerns about the project’s density and traffic issues. “You building a garage on our property at the cost of us retiring our entitlement does nothing to alleviate those concerns. Moreover, your project is opposed by thousands of Carmel Valley residents and we suggest you should be working with them to address and alleviate their concerns vs. worrying about our parking.”

Little said the Highlands’ letter was an announcement of Del Mar Highlands’ intent to increase its center by 50 percent, 150,000 square feet, without any traffic improvements.

“Obviously they want to continue their retail dominance of the community without speaking to anything that might be a big community benefit,” Little said. “This was not a small offer, this was a significant offer from our CEO to them and it was flat-out declined.”

Schreiber said that it is untrue that the letter was an announcement of the center expansion. She said their additional entitlements were approved more than 20 years ago and they will move forward with the plans at the appropriate time.

“The letter to Kilroy Realty was not an announcement regarding the start of construction to complete the build out of our shopping center,” said Schreiber. “Additionally, to clarify the misleading statements made by Kilroy Realty, traffic improvements associated with the build out of the Del Mar Highlands Town Center have already been made.”

Little said the rejection indicates Donahue Schriber’s intent to maintain “self-serving retail control of Carmel Valley” and that he doesn’t know anyone who wants that center to take advantage of its remaining entitlements to expand and “exacerbate” its existing parking problem.

“Donahue Schriber welcomes other retailers to Carmel Valley as long as the projects proposed don’t destroy the character or nature of the community as One Paseo would,” Schreiber said in response. “As currently proposed, One Paseo is three times what is allowed under current planning and entitlements for that land.”

Related posts:

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  2. Del Mar Highlands Town Center celebrates holidays
  3. Stores move, new tenants coming to Del Mar Highlands Town Center
  4. Del Mar Highlands Town Center offering new parking options, programs for customers
  5. Input sought on center upgrade

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Posted by Staff on Mar 30, 2013. Filed under Carmel Valley, Del Mar, News, Solana Beach, carmel valley. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

11 Comments for “Del Mar Highlands Town Center rejects Kilroy offer”

  1. Ken Farinsky

    Wait, Kilroy offered to build a $5 million parking structure in exchange for Donahue Schriber giving up a huge retail expansion that’s worth significantly more money? What kind of a trade-off is that? If Kilroy wants to be “fair”, they should purchase the 150,000 entitlement at market value. What’s that worth? $50 million? $100 million?

    Come on, Karen, did Kilroy really say they “get nothing out of this”? They get a HUGE benefit, in that it reduces future traffic on Del Mar Heights Road! It also cuts competition for One Paseo, should it ever get built. This article makes it sound like Kilroy wants nothing other than to help the community, when in reality they’re just trying to manipulate community opinion. If they really want to make Carmel Valley better, build a project that fits within the community!

    Someone should provide a correction to this article. Find out how much 150,000 SF of retail is worth in Carmel Valley and compare it to a $5 million garage. Was this a fair deal? Find out how much eliminating this retail reduces traffic on Del Mar Heights Road. Does One Paseo really benefit from the reduction in traffic?

    Oh, and the Highlands center currently has more parking than what is required by City code. The proposed One Paseo has less.

    • Carmel Valley Resident

      I can not agree more with Robert Goodman – has anyone tried not only to park but to actually turn into Del Mar Highlands around noon time, dinner time and the weekends. Parking is a joke and the new stalls with the shuttle, well that really helped. The only people I see using the shuttle are kids with skateboards that appear to have been shagged away. Why are kids riding a shuttle anyway! Let’s remember what a horrible job that was done when De;l Mar Highlands renovated – big deal if that is their idea of quality retail, hate to see what they would add now. IF they do expand, which they are entitled to, I would only hope that they would spend the same amount of money as Kilroy tp explore what type of retail is needed, the look and feel of the expansion but most of all how are your going to manage the traffic.
      If Del Mar Highlands expands without traffic mitigation this already intolerable situation will send me down to the Von’s Center at Piazza Carmel. No way would I go to the one across the freeway as that is also a DS development.
      Kilroy has been asking the residents since this was announced who they wanted in the retail space – don’t recall getting any of that request from Del Mar Highlands. Is Mr. Farinsky being paid by DS to try and scare people.? Who is he to determine what Carmel Valley needs. Stop looking backwards, look forward to new residents and a new town center. Why can’t these two corners of Carmel Valley come up with a plan that will mitigate traffic, give us a town center where families and teens can go to safely. I have been watching this project closely and it appears that the only thing that DS wants is to eliminate competition, not do anything that is good for the community. Hey, competition is good, everyone wins.

      • Ken Farinsky

        No, Mr. Farinsky is NOT being paid by DS to do anything. I’m a community resident concerned about traffic and the massive size of this development. Remember that One Paseo has almost as much retail as the Highlands, but less dedicated retail parking. I don’t understand why you think that will make it easier to park, is it just that Kilroy told you?

        Please remember that the opposition wants a Main Street with office, retail and residential, just like you. However, we just want something smaller than what Kilroy has proposed, something that fits Carmel Valley. Let’s see a proposal with 4 and 5 story office buildings, and 2 stories of residential over retail. Then we’ll talk.

  2. Carolyn Chase

    Why is Mr. Farinsky standing up for Donahue Schriber? What are his interest$???

    • Ken Farinsky

      My interests are the more than 3,000 community residents that have signed our petitions, asking for a project that fits our home. I haven’t taken money from anyone.

  3. Robert Goodman

    Have you tried parking at Del Mar Highlands during the dinner hour? Good luck. One Paseo cannot provide less parking than the city requires without a waiver from the city. I haven’t heard of one being issued yet. I’d like to see some documentation of this claim. Zoning ordinance 6790, which governs these things, is a pretty complicated document, even for a traffic engineer.

    Del Mar Highlands wants to add 150,000 square feet of retail space on top of the 270,000 square feet already built. That totals over 400,000 square feet gross leasable area, most of which will be retail. One Paseo projects less than 200,000 total square feet of retail. The rest is will be commercial and residential. To imply that the expansion of Del Mar Highlands “fits the community” but One Paseo does not is ludicrous. In this case, public debate needs to be rooted in facts, not chicken-little logic.

    Just a few days ago, San Diego traffic engineers reported that Kilroy’s mitigations will neutralize One Paseo’s impact. According to city traffic engineer, Farah Mazari, “We believe that the traffic study conforms to the traffic study manual, they’re mitigating all of their impacts, they’re not re-classifying any roadways and there’s no community plan amendment required (for the roads).”

    Kilroy has committed resources to mitigate One Paseo’s contribution to traffic. Will Del Mar Highlands do the same? Apparently not. According to Karen Billing’s article in the Times, Highlands plans no contributions to traffic improvements at all, even though retail produces far more traffic than commercial or residential land uses.

    Highlands claims its expansion is only possible and that it has not made any commitments. Its opposes One Paseo, I suppose, only because it wants to preserve its options. Maybe they’ll build, maybe they won’t, but in the meantime, Carmel Valley has to wait until they decide. So, who is being greedy and trying to “manipulate public opinion”?

    One Paseo is going to be build. Thank goodness! That block has been an eyesore for years. The only question is how ambitious is it going to be, and that’s a legitimate question. We can whine about this or that, or we can deal the practical questions that have to be answered.

  4. Karen Dubey

    Donahue Schriber has been, and continues to be what I consider the most considerate developer in Carmel Valley. Unlike Pardee Homes (Pacific Highlands Ranch Town Center developer) and Kilroy (One Paseo developer), Donahue Schriber ACTUALLY asked the community what they wanted before planning any of the last expansion of Del Mar Highlands Center. Both Pardee and Kilroy took the stand that they would propose centers that exceeded the community plan and then scale back a bit to placate the masses. The comments by Kilroy in this article stand to show the community the type of developer they are. “Thank you” to Donahue Schriber for standing your ground and continuing to stand up for the Carmel Valley community.

  5. Marlene Calderon

    I am a long time resident of Carmel Valley 15 years. I have never been asked my opinion on what I would like to see in the Highlands. On the other hand Kilroy has sent out several questionaires and also offered to meet individually or with group face to face to get my family’s input. The Highland has reaped the benefits of having almost all the retail space in Carmel Valley I think there is room for more competion. Many residents are looking forward to more options, especially family friendly ones. It is short sight to let the community stagnate while other developers continue to build more houses.

  6. Ken Farinsky

    I’ve spent 8 years on the local Planning Board and have read the DEIR and community plan documents, so I have some knowledge of the situation. On the parking, I have to work from the DEIR numbers, as Kilroy has not released anything more current. The DEIR shows One Paseo as having 4089 parking spaces. However, it also states, “Based on the City’s shared parking formula, at build-out a total of 4,511 spaces would be necessary”. So, Kilroy’s own DEIR states that they are more than 400 spaces below what the City’s parking formula requires. Yes, they are asking for a variance to this. They are asking for a variance for everything — usage, height, density, and parking.

    Your numbers on the retail development of One Paseo are wrong. The DEIR version called for 270,000 SF, while the new, “reduced” plan calls for 250,000 SF (not the 200,000 SF you call out.) Plus, it adds 650,000 SF of residential. It will be much larger than you expect.

    It’s also interesting that you’re willing to take away something that an existing developer already has the legal right to build in exchange for another developer’s project. You can’t legally do this. You might be able to purchase the development right from the owner, but you can’t just take it! Are you planning to have the City condemn the property so Kilroy can build their project?

    I don’t understand why you think that adding 150,000 SF of retail at the Highlands is somehow equivalent to the 900,000 SF that One Paseo is adding onto their office park (that’s in addition to the currently allowed 500,000 SF.) For what it’s worth, I do believe that 900,000 SF of retail and residential is significantly different from 150,000 SF of retail!

    You say Kilroy has committed resources to mitigate the traffic. Half of that money isn’t even in the community! And, they’re only spending around $2 million on the roads around One Paseo. So much for $6 million in street improvements.

    As for Carolyn Chase’s snide comment, I have taken nothing from anyone. Why are you sticking up for a rich Los Angeles developer who wants to build a massive, urban project in our community? I’m a community volunteer, and I’ve been working to improve this community for years. I’ve spent 8 years on the Planning Board, 15 years on the Recreation Council, volunteered at 3 schools & multiple youth sports teams, ran the summer park concerts for 6 years and have provided a FREE community web site since 2001. What have you done for Carmel Valley?

  7. W. Fijolek

    I am only a Carmel Valley homeowner. I have no ties to either developer. I wish neither ill will. I only want Carmel Valley to continue to be a place where folks want to live.

    I also am not against development. However, I do feel it should be in character with the community and should have no negative impacts.

    We all know we have serious traffic issues. It’s hard enough to get around here at peak travel times. We all know these issues get proportionally worse when the fair or race seasons are upon us. Traffic isn’t just a convenience issue though. Traffic can have a real impact on any emergency situation too.

    We don’t need any more traffic.

    I was at the last Planning Board meeting listening disconnected mumbling of the city traffic “experts” who had a hard time even answering simple questions about traffic. I will do you a favor. I will some up what the traffic impacts will be. Basically, we will have to widen some intersections and streets, to end up with, at best, a traffic situation, just as bad as today, in some areas and considerably worse in some other key areas, like getting on the northbound 5 from Del Mar Heights Rd.. The “experts” spent almost three hours mumbling their way through that assessment.

    Unanswered were questions like:

    How long will folks have to allot to travel along Del Mar Heights Rd. after Kilroy adds two more stop lights between El Camino and High Bluff,?

    With two left turn lanes leading north onto High Bluff Rd. wouldn’t many drivers be encouraged, or at least, tempted to cut through this residential neighborhood?

    Lastly, as a layman, i would assume what the city considers acceptable traffic should be different for a mostly residential Carmel Valley compared to Downtown San Diego. Are they using the same or different standards?

    I also hear a lot about Trader Joe’s. I’m just not excited about a Trader Joe’s coming to a shopping center near me. The good news for folks who want Trader Joe’s is there is no need to triple the size of Kilroy’s allotment to fit Trader Joe’s. The average Trader Joe’s is 8000 to 10,000 sq. ft.. So Kilroy could easily fit one in under their current allotment of 500,000 sq. ft., to satisfy those folks.

    We will also have unmitigated impacts to the Carmel Valley Schools due to the massive residential units in Kilroy’s plan. Those folks will also negatively impact parks and other recreation in the area.

    Lastly, I am very suspicious of those who speak up in favor of this windfall for Kilroy. I have googled some of your names. It appears some of you have more than a passing interest in this getting done. I have no such interests. I just want to live in the kind of neighborhood I bought into and i find was thoughtfully planned out.

    W. Fijolek

  8. CVSkeptic

    Thank you for your service to the community, but gimme a break. Donahue Schriber is a rich Orange County developer – what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing. They oppose this because they don’t want any retail on that site and you know that.

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