Scripps Health buys Carmel Valley corner for $23M

An aerial view of 12805 El Camino Real, which was recently purchased by Scripps Health.
(Courtesy, City of San Diego)

Property previously slated to become a life science center is now envisioned as an outpatient facility.


San Diego-based health care provider Scripps Health recently purchased the 3.8-acre lot at the corner of El Camino Real and Townsgate Drive in Carmel Valley from Alexandria Real Estate Equities for $22.9 million, public records show.

The transaction, which was recorded with the county assessor’s office in March, means that the property previously slated to become a life science center is now envisioned as an outpatient facility for the nonprofit health care organization.

“Scripps Health purchased property at 12805 El Camino Real for use as a future ambulatory site,” said Janice Collins, a spokeswoman for Scripps. “We are in the very early days of planning for this site.”

Abutting the Del Mar Highlands Town Center and across the street from One Paseo, the currently vacant lot is known as the “Pell” property, a reference to the surname of its long-time owners.

Biotech builder Alexandria, which owns 81 properties in the San Diego region, purchased the site in 2018 for $16.4 million. The real estate firm had planned to erect The Grove, a six-story lab and parking garage, going through multiple design iterations before being approved by the Carmel Valley Community Planning board last year. It was going through the community plan amendment process to allow research and development facilities on a site zoned for traditional office use.

Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health operates four hospitals and 28 outpatient centers. The not-for-profit posted revenue of $3.3 billion in the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2019.

It’s unclear whether the intended medical use will require a land-use change. However, the purchase includes a first right of refusal for Alexandria, meaning the firm would get first dibs on the site should Scripps Health decide to sell it within the next 10 years.

Alexandria did not respond to a request for comment.