Developers chosen to build hundreds of apartments at Carlsbad’s two train stations

Exclusive negotiating agreements were awarded last week to developers with plans for a combination of residential and retail construction projects at Carlsbad’s two Coaster commuter train stations.

“Redevelopment of our stations stands to bring benefits to transit riders and to surrounding communities as well as to our district,” said North County Transit District Chair Jewel Edson, a Solana Beach City Council member.

“I’m very excited to see two more potential redevelopments reach this milestone,” Edson said at Thursday’s NCTD board meeting. “I look forward to even more as our redevelopment team continues to advance other redevelopment opportunities in other cities and at other locations.”

The transit district has pursued mixed-use development of its transit centers for years as a way to raise additional revenue and to increase ridership on trains and buses, though so far none has been completed.

The primary source of income would be from leases of property the district owns for its train stations along the Coaster rail line between Oceanside and San Diego and on the Sprinter rail line between Oceanside and Escondido. Also, residents living at or near the stations would be more likely to use public transit.

“We are moving these things forward as quickly as possible,” NCTD Executive Director Matt Tucker said at Thursday’s meeting.

The district awarded an exclusive negotiating agreement to Toll Brothers in 2020 for the construction of about 550 apartments or condominiums along with affordable housing, offices, retail shops, a hotel and a parking structure at the 10.2-acre Oceanside Transit Center. Toll Brothers filed an application for permits and other entitlements for that project with the Oceanside Planning Division in August 2022.

A proposal for the 12.8-acre Escondido Transit Center will be presented to the NCTD board later this year, Tucker said.

Under agreements the board approved Thursday, West Village Partners will build 184 market-rate apartments or townhouses and 50 affordable units on 14.37 acres the transit district owns at the downtown Carlsbad Village Station on State Street.

Affordable housing will make up 27 percent of the Village residential units, well above the city’s minimum requirement of 15 percent. The Village project also will include 17,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, 435 parking spaces, a 110-room boutique hotel, a senior living facility, and 80,000 square feet of office space, according to preliminary plans.

“This location is primed for redevelopment with only a short walk to restaurants, retail and local beaches,” a district staffer said.

The Village station sees an average of 800 patrons daily, with about 600 of those riding the Coaster and 200 using Breeze buses. The Poinsettia station, on Avenida Encinas near Poinsettia Lane in southwest Carlsbad, averages 400 Coaster riders and about 40 bus riders daily.

Raintree Partners was selected for the 11.47-acre Poinsettia Station, which will have 146 market-rate dwellings and 31 affordable units, or 17 percent of the residences. Almost 5 acres of the site will remain undeveloped under a permanent conservation easement.

Both exclusive negotiating agreements are valid for 2.5 years. During that time, the developers will work with district, city and regional officials on final designs, permits, and other issues. Construction is expected to start in 2025 at the Village station and in 2027 at the Poinsettia station.

Board member Kellie Hinze, an Encinitas City Council member, said the two Carlsbad proposals both “look like highly desirable projects,” and others on the board agreed.

“These are two really outstanding proposals,” said board member Corinna Contreras, who represents the Vista City Council. “Being able to have more density next to public transit is a win-win.”

Regional planners said transit-oriented development helps to avoid urban sprawl, reduce traffic congestion and cut pollution and greenhouse gases.

Three developers — Raintree Partners, Holland Partner Group and West Village Partners — submitted a total of six proposals for the two Carlsbad sites. West Village is a partnership between Seabreeze Properties, Fabric Investments, Inc., and others. One of the proposals for the Poinsettia station was later withdrawn.

A selection committee of four NCTD employees and one independent representative of the San Diego North Economic Development Council, along with input from the district’s real estate consultants, recommended the two developers to the board.

Article courtesy of The San Diego Union Tribune - Written by Phil Diehl


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