By Zach Friend
Approximately 275 people attended a community meeting at Seascape Golf Course to see renderings of the proposed remodel of the Rancho Del Mar shopping center and hear information about overall plans for the center. The meeting followed a similar meeting last year where TRC (formerly Terramar Retail Centers), owners of the center, heard from residents about design ideas and tenant mixes they would like to see. TRC committed last year to hold another meeting in Aptos once they had a formal proposal and our office worked continuously to make sure they followed through.
At the meeting TRC was represented by Bruce Walton, Senior Vice President for Development; Scott Grady Vice President for Development; Trish Gonsalves TRC leasing agent; property managers and the architect for the project Robert Lyman. A series of color renderings for the remodel were provided, which they described as modernizing the center but keeping the “rural theme” and “Aptos sense of place.”
The remodel will not include any overall change to square footage (meaning there will be no size or scope changes to the center — just a facelift) and focused on these elements: ADA (Americans with Disability Act) improvements (including lifts and ramps), new landscaping, major lighting improvements, a focus on the “pedestrian experience” to make it more walkable, the creation of outdoor dining experiences and community spaces (and a possible pedestrian plaza) along with significant changes to signage, sidings, roof pitches and paint elements.
There will be no changes to the entrances or exits nor will there be parking changes — and for those remembering the proposal from Safeway a few years ago, there will be no new large stores or second stories. In fact, there will be no new buildings just facelifts to existing structures. A lot of this parallels feedback provided by the community at last year’s meeting.
TRC noted they just submitted the proposal to County Planning staff and it is beginning the design review process. They estimate this process could take four months before they can apply for building permits. Once they have been given building permits, TRC estimates it will be a 12-month construction process. At the meeting they noted that construction will most likely begin in early fall and will be phased to preserve parking during construction and minimize the impacts on business and customers. Their architect noted they’ve encountered a lot of deferred maintenance issues (dry rot, termites, leaks) that will all be addressed in the process. The cost for the remodel was estimated at $10-15 million.
Questions were raised about the movie theater (their leasing agents noted they still continue to look for one — and have some very early interest from one operator — but also cautioned it’s a very far off from reality at this stage), circulation and parking problems (especially associated with Safeway and the Safeway gas station – no changes are currently planned for these), whether there will be electric vehicle charging stations (they are evaluating this), whether Safeway will be expanding (which they said is up to Safeway, which has not indicated there will be) and the general tenant mix envisioned.
While TRC didn’t get into specific lease negotiations, they noted that they want to keep all of the current businesses there if that is possible, and have heard the desire to have some new restaurants at the center. They did specifically state that ACE Hardware will be staying in its current location and there has been a lot of interest to convert the old KFC location into a brewpub with outdoor dining area.
If you have questions about the center you can contact Bruce Walton of TRC directly at bwalton@TRCcenters.com
As always, if you have any questions for me, please feel free to call me at 454-2200.