With a few administrative hurdles left to clear, RAF Pacifica Group is looking to break ground next month on its 26,000-square-foot mixed-use project at the southern end of Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District, on the site that for two decades held Cedros Gardens.
RAF Pacifica dubbed the project Flight after it was known as Cedros 330 while a different developer led the project through two years of city review in 2015 and 2016. In an April 2017 press release, RAF Pacifica announced that the project would be ready this year. If their new timeline holds, Flight’s grand opening will come next summer.
“We're waiting on some things with the city, but I'd say we'll be able to deliver the finished product in 12-14 months from when we break ground," said Adam Robinson, founder and principal of RAF Pacifica Group.
RAF Pacifica is carrying out the design of Sean MacLeod, a Solana Beach resident who helped found the Cedros design district a quarter-century ago.
The design lays out a 3,200-square-foot restaurant with an outdoor patio alongside 5,000 square feet of on-street retail. The second story will feature 8,800 square feet of office space—divisible to as little as 1,100 square feet—and eight luxury apartments totaling about 10,000 square feet.
Negotiations are underway on the retail tenants and restaurants. The retail can be divvied up into four units, but Robinson expects it to be two or three.
The hope is to bolster to the revitalization of the Cedros Design District, said Robinson, who had an office on Cedros for six years.
“There's been some really great redevelopments, but no new construction. West Elm looks so much better than it looked before, and this project [architect] Brian Church did down the street looks really good,” he said. “... There's quite a few people who live in the surrounding area that want a new office, that want new retail, that want a brand new restaurant, a brand new apartment on Cedros. There's really not much of that at all right now.”
The nearly 1-acre site was home to Cedros Gardens for more than 20 years until it shuttered in 2015.
"When that closed, that's when the opportunity came, and Sean was probably the best person,” Robinson said. He know this street better than anyone to get it entitled and through the city. He just didn't really want to execute it. That’s where we came in, and we're really excited about it."
Pacifica acquired McLeod’s purchase option then bought the land from Jim Harker for $5.5 million in total considerations.
"Sean did a great job, so we're really happy. They spent a lot of time making sure it fits in with the city,” Robinson said. “We'll be able to put our interior touches on the residential units and other things, but the exterior is Sean’s.”
The building will also incorporate an art element, probably a mural on the entire side of the building.
Having specialized in industrial and office projects—they own 3.5 million square feet of industrial and office space, 1 million of which is in construction in Carlsbad and San Marcos—RAF Pacifica is looking to put more emphasis on retail and residential. They recently acquired the Whole Foods retail center in downtown Encinitas and Benihana's in Carlsbad and completed projects in Cardiff and Carlsbad’s Bressi Ranch.
"Flight is really our first project where you have restaurant, retail, office and residential," Robinson said. “We really are bullish on the coastal market, so that's why we're looking at opportunities to do more of these type of ground-up developments on the coast.”