Del Mar Highlands Town Center upgrade project reaches halfway point

By Karen Billing

Staff Writer

Del Mar Highlands Town Center Manager Elizabeth Schreiber said they have reached the halfway point in their renovations on the shopping center, with the project expected to be complete by mid-July. The center’s “re-imaging” is bringing improved parking, more restaurants and a completely revamped UltraStar Cinemas.

“We’re focusing now on a tremendous amount of work in the amphitheater,” Schreiber said of the area that is completely walled off.

In the amphitheater area the popular children’s fountain will be replaced with a new one and five new shops will be added. On the second level on top of the shops will be a large patio area with a fire pit and outdoor furniture.

Near Tilly’s, The Counter burger restaurant is under construction and should open in July, and, close by, the lease was signed for a new Mediterranean-style eatery. Across the road from those establishments, Urban Plates will open, offering organic fare.

Construction has also begun on the old Wherehouse building on the corner of El Camino Real and Del Mar Heights Road. Schreiber said a lease has been signed with “Top Chef” restaurateur Brian Malarkey and James Brennan, majority partner of Stingaree nightclub downtown. Currently, the pair runs Searsucker downtown, a fine dining restaurant in the Gaslamp District.

Details are still hush-hush, but Schreiber said there will be a large outdoor patio and the cuisine might be similar to Searsucker’s.

The new signage, with halo-lit bronze lettering now seen at the El Camino Real entrance, will be repeated at all of the center’s entrances, including those on Townsgate Drive.

All shops and restaurants remain open through the ongoing construction. For more information, visit




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