Developers hope to open PHR Village Center in Carmel Valley by first quarter of 2015

By Karen Billing

Developers aim to start on construction of the first phase of the Pacific Highlands Ranch Village Center by this time next year. Developer Tom Blake, president of Coast Income Properties, said that they hope the center could be open by the first quarter of 2015. Blake made his comments at the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board regional issues subcommittee meeting on Dec. 12.

Blake said they have not yet resubmitted their plans to the city and they will not submit until they have the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s support for their plan.

Changes in the PHR Village plan from the 2010-approved project include the elimination of the movie theater; the addition of a specialty market and drug store instead of a full-service grocery store; and an enhanced open space area that has been favorably considered by the subcommittee.

There are community and subcommittee concerns about six-story residential building heights, traffic and the loss of the grocery store from the plans.

While subcommittee co-chair Jan Fuchs argued for a full-service grocery store to allow PHR to be a self-sustained community as planned, an informal survey created by Pacific Highlands Ranch resident Karen Dubey actually reflected that of the 70 people surveyed, 83 percent said they wanted a specialty grocery store.

“That tells us that we’re hopefully doing the right thing,” said Blake. “Nothing is going to please everyone but we’re probably going in the right direction.”

Blake said that people’s shopping habits are changing as stores like Target offer food, noting off-hand that a Target is planned for the Del Sur area.

Pacific Highlands Ranch representative Manjeet Ranu noted that he does the majority of his family’s shopping at Costco, “impacting the community of Santee” on his way home from work.

He also pointed out that an Albertsons is only one exit down on Camino del Norte and will be a closer option for many of the new PHR residents. Subcommittee co-chair Anne Harvey pointed out that the Torrey Hills Vons also sports a fairly uncrowded parking lot.

Blake said potential tenants they have been considering include The Fresh Market (an East Coast concept that is gradually coming west with three stores in California); Lululemon, an athletic store for women; and Houston’s, an upscale casual dining chain based in Beverly Hills. (However, it is still too early in the process for any final tenant deals.)

The PHR Village Center will be about 145,000 square feet. As a reference point, Flower Hill Promenade’s renovation will result in a 165,000-square-foot center.