Next workshop on Del Mar’s new city hall and civic center to be held Oct. 27

Community members will have another opportunity Oct. 27 to provide input on how Del Mar’s new city hall and civic center should look. To prepare for the city’s third city hall planning workshop, the Del Mar City Council on Oct. 6 narrowed a list of concepts that could replace the deteriorating facilities at 1050 Camino del Mar.

Carrier Johnson Architects presented seven concepts, each featuring a 9,250-square-foot city hall, 3,200-square-foot town hall and 15,000-square-foot plaza, but varying parking options. Most of the concepts also included commercial and/or residential space.

“They are not designs,” reminded Kathleen Garcia, the city’s planning and community development director. “They are just tests of programs. None of these have gone through the rigorous design process that will have a tremendous amount of community input.”

After hearing and reviewing multiple studies, issuing a citywide survey and holding two community workshops, the council in June directed staff to begin the master planning process for a new city hall. Since then, Carrier Johnson Architects worked with staff and council liaisons to prepare conceptual site plans, which council members were tasked with evaluating during the Oct. 6 meeting.

While discussing which concepts to further explore, Councilwoman Sherryl Parks and Councilman Don Mosier pointed out that community members previously expressed they want the new site to be a gathering space.

During the second workshop on June 9, residents had mixed opinions on whether the city should have commercial space or residential housing on the site, but many liked the idea of using the space for civic and cultural uses.

“So I think we have to listen to what we heard,” Mosier said. “They want a vital, interesting place.”

But Councilman Terry Sinnott reminded his colleagues that the community does not yet know the potential costs for even just a basic municipal program.

Therefore, the council asked the consultant and staff to further study and develop cost estimates for several of the options — from a basic municipal program with a city hall, town hall and plaza, to the necessary buildings along with 3,400 square feet of commercial space and six townhomes with garages.

In addition, staff will also bring back cost estimates for a concept proposed by locals Jim Watkins and Kit Leeger, who voluntarily created a design for a new city hall and civic center.

Like the other options, the concept by the father-daughter duo proposes a 15,000-square-foot plaza. Unlike the concepts by Carrier Johnson Architects, however, the pair’s option features a smaller city hall and slightly larger town hall at 8,450 square feet and 3,788 square feet, respectively. Their concept also features much more commercial space at 13,600 square feet, seven townhomes and 168 parking stalls, with all but four of the spaces required parking.

Staff is expected to present construction costs and a financial analysis during the Oct. 20 council meeting.

The Oct. 27 workshop begins at 6 p.m. at the Del Mar Communications Center, 240 10th Street. For more information, call 858-755-9313 or visit