St. John Garabed Armenian Church aims for fall opening

St. John Garabed Church is under construction on El Camino Real, slated for completion this fall.
(Courtesy St. John Garabed)

Progress continues on the new St. John Garabed Armenian Church in Carmel Valley. When fully completed, the new campus on El Camino Real will feature a sanctuary that reaches 93 feet in height, a social hall, a youth center, education and cultural building, an Armenian Heritage Park and picnic and meditation spaces.

Plans have been in the works for over 12 years for the church to move from its North Park facility to North County. According to Beth Broussalian from the church’s building committee, the first phase of the project is fully funded and they will focus on raising additional donor funds to support the second phase.

The interior of the dome is in the process of being built and framing of the rooms has been completed. Outside, parking spaces have been poured and landscapers have prepared the underground irrigation. In the coming month the windows, except the stained glass windows, will be installed and the dome will be completed. By the end of June, the widening of El Camino Real with the acceleration and deceleration lanes will be finished.

In August, the church expects the stained glass windows, pews, altar and interior decor to be installed in preparation for occupancy in September.

Since its approval in 2014, 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 an assisted living facility. PMB is proposing El Camino Real Assisted Living, 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 development will require a conditional use permit and site development permit. According to Marcela Escobar-Eck of Atlantis Group, the project is still under initial review at the city and they expect to issue an environmental review document.

An online petition by neighboring Stallions Crossings residents has gathered over 700 signatures in opposition to the assisted living project, citing concerns with the development’s impact on traffic, community safety, the environment and quality of life.