Tree-lined paseos, sidewalks brimming with cafe tables and a new cinema where waiters serve up appetizers over the din of previews - these are some of the things envisioned for the huge empty lot on the corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real.
Kilroy Realty Corporation owns the 550,000-square-foot lot and hopes to create a true mixed-use town center. They are planning a center that combines office buildings with restaurants, retail and residential use in a pedestrian-friendly environment.
"We want to create something special and unique, a main destination," Robert Little, Kilroy vice president of commercial development, said.
Little said Kilroy plans to begin the city application process by this summer, anticipating occupancy on the project by 2012.
To dream up Carmel Valley's new town center, Kilroy has hired Elkus Manfredi architects, the firm behind The Grove in Los Angeles and Downtown Disney in Anaheim. The success of their designs is in their creation of public spaces, Little said.
An exciting start
As plans are still preliminary, Little said community-input process is just beginning.
Carmel Valley Community Planning Board chair Frisco White and board member Ken Farinsky last met with Kilroy in June of 2008 to discuss this lot.
White said Kilroy's preliminary plans addressed a lot of their concerns, such as providing open space on the corners of the project to make it more inviting and not creating a sea of parking lot.
"I think it will bring vitality back into our neighborhood," White said.
Other uses being discussed for the space include a 10-story office building, a 150-room hotel, a market and a larger retail chain store.
Kilroy wants to create a main street through the center that is double loaded with retail, with parking hidden behind the buildings.
"This looks like an exciting start," board member Manjeet Ranu said. "Carmel Valley does need something like this."