Del Mar civic center continues to take shape; council adds catering kitchen to plan


Plans for a new civic center complex continue to take shape, as the Del Mar City Council made several key decisions on July 20 and propelled the project to its design development phase.

Just weeks after selecting a concept design for the project, council members unanimously agreed on the site arrangement and design character, determined the size of the town hall and decided to add a catering kitchen to the site.

“I think we’ve got an excellent design at this stage,” said Councilman Terry Sinnott. “I’m very appreciative of it, and I think you’ve made some excellent choices here. I think we’ve really got something that the community is going to be very happy with.”

In June, the council marked a major milestone in the design process by selecting a concept design for the city’s new civic center. The design, called “Concept E,” is a hybrid of The Miller Hull Partnership’s previously presented concepts and community feedback.

Located on the site of the city’s facilities at 1050 Camino del Mar, the proposed project includes a 9,250-square-foot city hall in the middle of the site slightly to the south, a 3,200-square-foot multipurpose town hall in the southeast corner, and a 15,000-square-foot plaza fronting Camino del Mar.

The plan features a 4,500-square-foot public overlook in the northwest corner of the lot and a total of 11,700 square feet of open space available for future expansion. The plan also includes a two-level underground parking garage on a third of the site, with surface parking on another third of the site for a total of about 156 parking spaces.

Construction is estimated to cost $11.2 million, according to preliminary schematic designs.

The architectural team on July 20 unveiled initial renderings of what the buildings could look like. The better-defined designs outlined the locations of lobbies, restrooms and other aspects of the buildings.

The designs also depicted wooden buildings with lots of windows. The structures featured wooden ceilings and tresses like those at the Del Mar Library, Powerhouse Community Center and Jake’s Del Mar.

“We’re using this hybrid of wood and glass to make a welcoming, transparent and weathered protected wall you can see right through,” explained Mike Jobes, principal with The Miller Hull Partnership. “Also, from inside, it feels almost like you’re looking through a stand of trees.”

Overall, the council agreed with the direction of the design character.

“I think the design as a whole is very nice,” said Councilman Don Mosier. “I think this is a very nice job, and I congratulate Mike and the Miller Hull team on bringing us a nice product.”

Although council members considered expanding the town hall, they decided to move forward with the 3,200-square-foot space, which is included in the budget. The town hall would accommodate 150 people seated and 160 people seated at tables.

City Hall and the town hall would be connected by a weather-protected glass breezeway with large pivotal doors. Using the breezeway as overflow space, the town hall could accommodate as many as 252 people seated and 260 people seated at tables.

To accommodate the additional capacity, $40,000 to $60,000 more will be needed for extra fixtures, storage space and restroom stalls.

“That breezeway is going to achieve exactly what we were hoping for at almost no additional cost,” said resident Betty Wheeler, who wants a town hall that would be large enough for community events.

“I think that the original town hall size with the addition of the breezeway is a really brilliant approach to meeting the community interest in those additional spaces.”

The council also agreed to add approximately $90,000 to $135,000 to the budget for a roughly 300-square-foot catering kitchen.