Senior living community proposed on El Camino Real

A rendering for El Camino Real Assisted Living.

A new assisted living community is being developed for the Carmel Valley community.

At its Oct. 22 meeting the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board reviewed plans for El Camino Real Assisted Living, which aims to meets the needs of a growing senior demographic and a shortage of senior housing in the area.

For the record:

4:50 p.m. Oct. 28, 2020The square footage was originally reported as 204,000 square feet but it is actually 104,000 square feet. Additionally, the project requires 20 feet setbacks, not 25. The developers will provide 30 feet setbacks.

The site is located on the east side of El Camino Real, behind the Harvest Evangelical Church on the property of St John Garabed Armenian Church that is currently under construction. When fully completed, the St. Garabed campus will feature a sanctuary that reaches 93 feet in height, a social hall, a youth center and an education and cultural building.

According to project consultant Marcela Escobar-Eck of the Atlantis Group, since its approval six years ago Garabed has acquired the adjacent four-acre site and is entering into a long-term lease with the PMB healthcare real estate group for the development of the assisted living facility.

PMB is proposing a 104,000-square-foot facility with 104 rooms and 122 beds— 102 beds will be assisted living and 22 will be for memory care.

The project is required to have 20-foot setbacks around the entire property and they are providing 30 feet setbacks. Escobar-Eck said they have tried to be particularly sensitive to the neighboring homes in the Stallions Crossing development, providing as much green space as possible to serve as a landscaping buffer.

With the architecture, PMB also hopes up to break up the overall mass with a variety of window types, balconies and varied rooflines.

“The idea is to break this up and make it feel more conducive to the neighborhood,” said architect Daun St. Amand, adding the buildings will have light-colored, adobe-like walls, wood details, courtyards and colonnades.

The entry and exit to the project will be shared with Garabed through their site, there will be no additional driveway curb cuts on El Camino Real.

“We don’t forsee any traffic issues,” said Escobar Eck, noting that the majority of the church campus is activated during the weekends and the anticipated traffic from the assisted living community is 210 daily trips. “Sadly, assisted living facilities don’t get the kind of traffic that people think, they don’t get as many visitors as people would like.”

A rendering of the assisted living facility shows the Stallions Crossing neighbors to the south.

Escobar-Eck said due to the fairly isolated site, they will be providing extra parking beyond what is required.

The project is still fairly early on in the city’s review process, the developers just submitted the application for a conditional use permit and site development permit. The board’s early input was mostly concerning the impacts on the neighbors to the south at Stallions Crossing. Board member Debbie Lokanc also expressed concerns that the apartment building-like structure did not fit in the semi-rural area: “It’s really too much next to that church.”

Escobar-Eck said they plan to meet with the Stallions Crossing Homeowner’s Association in the coming months. She expects the project to be back before the planning board in early 2021.

There is another proposed senior living community about a mile away on Via De La Valle that has been in development for several years. Hacienda Del Mar, slated for the vacant land next to the San Diego Surf Cup Sports Park, has proposed 150 independent and assisted living and memory care units and a restored open space habitat on the corner of El Camino Real and Via De La Valle.

In 2018, the planning board also approved Seabreeze Senior Living in Carmel Valley: 105 assisted living units and five casitas for independent living. The development will replace the former Seabreeze Farms Equestrian Center on Old Carmel Valley Road, near Cathedral Catholic High School. The project was approved by San Diego City Council in 2019 and expects to break ground in the coming months.