Jul 24, 2017
By Thor Kamban Biberman
Some of the elements of a proposed 20-acre development, featuring a luxury resort, on a bluff in Del Mar are coming into focus.
The project, a joint venture between local developers The Robert Green Co. and Zephyr, is slated to be built along Border Avenue between Via de la Valle and North Beach (also known as Dog Beach). The property is along the municipal border with Solana Beach.
The Developers are waiting until they have their entitlements before acquiring the land. But they have signed purchase agreements with three property owners who own the seven parcels where the project is located.
The luxury resort is expected to take up about 16 ½ acres.
With the luxury resort and spa – the exact size of which is still being determined – plans call for restaurants, meeting space, and branded resort villas.
The Robert Green Co. and Zephyr are both headquarters in Encinitas, not far from the project site.
Brad Termini, who co-founded Zephyr with Dane Chapin, said he envisions the resort as a venue with “200 something rooms that would be akin to the luxury Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, which is also on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific.”
“We want to make this a world class spa,” added Robert Green.
During a presentation to the Del Mar City Council earlier this spring, Jim McMenamin, Zephyr’s senior vice president of forward planning, noted the property is to be connected to James Scripps Bluff Preserver through an extensive trail system.
The Del Mar project is expected to be designed by the architectural firm Gensler.
Termini said the developers also have hired Palo Alto’s Hill Glazier Architects, which is best known for its hotel and resort designs.
The project has had at least two community participation meetings and a meeting with California Coastal Commission staff.
Termini said the planned resort wants to be a good neighbor, which means it will not be walled off from the rest of the community.
Although the development plans to have multiple access points, it won’t have direct access to the beach since the property lies atop a cliff.
Both Termini and Green said the intent is to build the project well away from the bluff to protect the resort and villas from cliff erosion. The developers have hired geotechnical firm Geocon to determine the stability of the bluff.
Termini said the property has been in private hands and walled off for generations, but now it will finally be opened up.
“Very few people have set foot on this piece of property,” he said.
“We’re very pleased to provide access to a piece of property that not many people have seen,” Green agreed.
The project is planned to be LEED certified. A minimum LEED Silver level is being considered but that could change if the developers add energy and water efficiencies.
Sarah Richmond, a local planner for the Coastal Commission, has a few ideas about what her agency would like to see.
Since the project will be develop on the bluff, Richmond said she would like to ensure its safety. She also said traffic must be considered, and that the project follow the Del Mar Local Coastal Plan.
While the height of the resort has yet to be determined, the developers have told city officials it will most likely be three stories.
The California Coastal Commission has been enforcing a requirement that low-cost visitors-serving commercial lodging be a part of the project, and both Termini and Green said it is their plan to satisfy this requirement.
Zephyr and The Robert Green Co. continue to seek community input on the project’s scope and design.
“We’re working with the City of Del Mar and Coastal Commission on this,” Green said, adding he has received mostly positive responses from the community and agencies.
Zephyr has developed SummerHouse Carlsbad, a 35-unit enclave of luxury beach condos; South Cove, a community featuring 168 luxury residences and public park in Dana Point; and The Park, Bankers Hill, a 14-story, luxury residential building located across from Balboa Park.
The Robert Green Co. has developed Four Seasons hotels and resorts in Carlsbad, Palo Alto and Jackson, Wy., the Everly Hotel in Hollywood; the Pendry Hotel in San Diego; and the recently announced Montage and Pendry Resort Hotels in La Quinta.
Green also hopes to develop a hotel on the Fifth Avenue Landing site adjacent to the Convention Center.
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