Coming attractions for Carmel Valley in 2020

In the Del Mar Highlands Town Center's new Sky Deck, opening in 2020, 10 restaurants will surround a central bar.

A look at what is to come in 2020:

New leadership
Elections 2020: Carmel Valley residents will elect new local leadership including San Diego’s new mayor, a new San Diego City Council representative and decide a county supervisor race.

Eight candidates are currently vying for the District 1 San Diego City Council seat including: Aaron Brennan, firefighter/naval reserve officer; Joe LaCava, civil engineer/business owner; Will Moore, small business counsel; Sam Nejabat, small business owner; Harid Puentes, a tech executive; Louis Rodolico, environmental journalist; James Rudolph, business attorney; and Lijun (Lily) Zhou, entrepreneur/instructor.

Carmel Valley’s current representative on city council, Barbara Bry, is running for mayor on a March 2020 ballot that currently includes Assemblymember Todd Gloria; San Diego City Councilmember Scott Sherman; Gita Singh a family nurse practitioner, Rich Riel a computer tech; and Tasha Williamson, a nonprofit executive.

In the supervisor race, incumbent Kristin Gaspar faces challengers Terra Lawson-Remer, an economist, environmental attorney and community organizer; and Olga Diaz, a city councilmember in Escondido and college dean.

New places to go

Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s Sky Deck, a “restaurant collective experience” with multiple eateries under one giant roof, is set to open above the new Jimbo’s in March 2020.

Restaurants like Thai Extraordinary, Ambrogio 15 and Le Parfait will be clustered around central bar Noblesse Oblige Craft Cocktails, a new concept from Scott Slater, the founder of Slater’s 50/50. A total of 10 restaurant concepts are planned for the Sky Deck and some will have their own outdoor patios.

A winding staircase leads up to the Brewers’ Deck—in perhaps the most scenic overlook in Carmel Valley, the deck will host a tasting room for Northern Pine Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing and Boochcraft.

“People are going to have a lot of fun, it will be a really fun place for people to come,” said Patrick Donahue, chairman and chief executive officer of Donahue Schriber, owner of the Del Mar Highlands Town Center at a preview event in May. “Everything you need is right here.”

The other part of Del Mar Highlands’ $120 million expansion, will also continue with new openings in 2020 including a boutique fitness row with Stretch Lab, Row House and a new larger Club Pilates; Danish cafe Nordic Hygge, a new CeramiCafe location and The Shade Store. Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is expected to open in January.

A rendering of the new Pacific Highlands Ranch school.

New schools
The Del Mar Union School District will break ground on the new East Pacific Highlands Ranch School in fall/winter 2020. The district’s ninth school will be located on Solterra Vista Parkway (off Carmel Valley Road) and will have modern learning studios, a multi-use room and an innovation center for student collaboration and explorations. The new school will be the site of the district’s new cafeteria.

The new Del Mar Heights School rebuild is also set to begin construction in the summer.

Improved parks & recreation

The addition of a new play structure, picnic tables and shade structures at Carmel Creek Park are expected to be completed in 2020 as a round of parks improvements sets off at several Carmel Valley area parks. Improvement projects slated for 2020 include:

  • New comfort station (restroom building), two new picnic tables and a shade structure at Carmel Grove Neighborhood Park
  • The demolition and replacement of the comfort station at Carmel Del Mar Neighborhood Park
  • New comfort station at Carmel Knolls Neighborhood Park
  • New comfort station at Carmel Mission Neighborhood Park
  • Artificial turf field at Carmel Valley Community Park
  • New comfort station at Solana Highlands Neighborhood Park
  • New comfort station, concession building, six new picnic tables, two new shade structures and synthetic turf at Ocean Air Community Park

Also in 2020, the design process is finally expected to begin on the long-awaited Carmel Valley Neighborhood Park #8, located on four aces off Tang Drive and Carmel Creek Road, near from San Diego Jewish Academy and Kaiser Permanente Carmel Valley. The new $6.6 million park will include a play area, picnic facilities, open turf areas and landscaping and is anticipated to be completed in 2024.

The popular CVREP trail, now known as Marvin Gerst Trail, part of the SR-56 bike trail that runs between Interstate 5 and 15 will be extended this year. The trail that currently hits a dead-end will be extended to go underneath I-5 and make the final connection to Old Sorrento Valley Road.

The Harbaugh Seaside Trails, a three-acre coastal overlook at the gateway linking Solana Beach and Cardiff-by-the-Sea is set to open in February 2020, promising an open space preserve for dog-walking, sunset-watching and peaceful contemplation in nature.

The new Nature Collective project will feature a series of trails in a loop to mimic an ocean wave, an artistic donor monument and an observation deck shaped like a shell to carry on the ocean theme.

A railroad undercrossing will provide visitors with safer coastal access into San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and beyond. The donor monument has been designed by public artist Betsy K. Schulz to include mosaics that represent several iconic native plants and animals.

The San Dieguito River Park’s first ranger station will also open in early 2020. The 2,380 square-foot station and maintenance garage is located adjacent to the Coast to Crest Trail overlooking the San Dieguito Lagoon wetlands off San Andres Drive. It will function as a working ranger office, but will also be used for public education and river park-run volunteer activities. A bonus: it will include the river park’s first permanent public restroom.