Construction on new Del Mar Highlands parking garage will begin in August


Construction is set to kick off in mid-August on a portion of a new parking garage at Del Mar Highlands Town Center. The structure will be built in two phases to be less disruptive to customers.

According to Del Mar Highlands Manager Elizabeth Schreiber at the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s May 28 meeting, the first phase is expected to be complete in June 2016, adding 389 parking stalls.

The parking garage when fully built-out will total 600 spaces.

Since the 1980s, Del Mar Highlands has been entitled to a total of 425,000 square feet of retail but only 283,000 square feet has been built so far. In 2010 and 2011, the center underwent a major overhaul, a $20 million “re-imagining” that brought in several new restaurants, new stores and a lot more visitors to jam the parking lot.

The parking garage will help alleviate some parking woes, which Schreiber said has been a often-heard complaint from customers.

Once the first phase of the garage is complete, Cinepolis will begin work on an expansion. The theater will be adding four screens but taking down one to expand its kitchen, resulting in a new 11-plex cinema. The Cinepolis upgrade is expected to be complete in fall 2016.

Future plans for Del Mar Highlands include a new Kinder Care location adjacent to the parking garage and an additional 80,000 square feet of new retail spaces on two levels on the south side of the center that was not touched by the last renovation.

The new three-story garage’s top level will be at grade with Townsgate Drive, as the garage is designed to fill the hole behind the center. There will be three ways to enter the garage: from Townsgate, in between Carnitas Snack Shack and Urban Plates on the lowest level, and from behind the current Jimbo’s.

During construction, Del Mar Highlands will lose about 200 parking spaces in the back of the center.

Board member Steve Davison expressed concerns about the loss of those parking spaces and how that will affect neighboring streets, in addition to where construction crews and employees will be parking.

Schreiber said the demolition of the buildings which housed Barnes and Noble and the old Pearl Izumi and Village Mill locations will help make way for 83 temporary parking spaces, and they are working on some promotional ideas to help with transportation to alleviate parking issues during construction.

Schreiber said they are very strict about construction crew parking — workers must park vehicles within the construction fence or face fines. Employee parking will shift from the back to near Kinder Care. As the last retail space in the center to visit will be Jimbo’s, she said those spaces are the least desirable for visitors.

Davison noted that while they are least desirable, there is sometimes nowhere else to park.

The former Barnes and Noble and other vacant store buildings will be taken down in the next four to six weeks. Schreiber said customers could expect to see a lot of utility work going on at the site during June and July before the garage construction begins in August.