Village Update

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Small Offices 4 Rent

After more than three years, the empty building that used to house Stump’s market beside the post office is getting a new tenant. Small Offices 4 Rent is a local company that offers executive office suites for small and part-time businesses. I have fond memories of executive office suites since I moved my company to one after it outgrew my two-bedroom apartment way back when.

They will offer around 30 single and some double room suites for full-time or part-time rental. A full-time receptionist will answer phones and accept packages, and conference rooms will also be available. More info at their website.

They expect to be open in about a month and are already signing up customers.

They are also looking to provide additional services such as partnering with RSF Mail Delivery to have a one-stop package delivery service. The idea is if you are on vacation, your packages and mail could be delivered to Small Offices and held until you were ready to pick it up, or even have RSF Mail Delivery deliver it to you when you’re ready. Contact Small Offices if you’re interested in such a service, as they’ll offer it if the demand is there. I know I’m getting annoyed and kinda freaked out by Amazon’s penchant of delivering my purchases in 10-year-old sedans driven by random temporary employees. I swear that Amazon is intentionally giving us a worse and worse delivery experience so that we’ll be begging them to pay money for them to buzz us with delivery drones. Anyways…

While some people may lament that our village is getting yet more boring office space, the reality is that Small Offices will give a lot more people a reason to be in the village rather than take their business to nearby Solana Beach or Encinitas. A vibrant village needs a mix of both retail and offices lest the retail die off from lack of customers.

Gateway

I talked with the owner of the Gateway project who is redeveloping the gas station and the triangle of land behind it into a mixed use retail and office space structure. We are all looking forward to this project as the developer has said he will try to attract a retail grocer back into our village. Hey, interested in a retirement project? You could do worse than run a small village grocery store. Heck I’d even invest some capital into it.

The project is still currently waiting for some expected approvals from the County. Plans haven’t changed from when the CDRC approved the project, and construction might start this year if the permitting gods allow it.

Pharmacy

Speaking of permitting gods, our new pharmacy has supposedly run the gauntlet at the County, and comes back in front of the CDRC April 23 for what should be a routine final OK. Construction could start very soon.

Both the new pharmacy and the Gateway project will give us additional parking for the Village, which is sorely needed if we want a vibrant village core.

Village Revitalization

We are going to be hearing a lot about village revitalization from our upcoming Board election. It’s something everyone wants, yet no one is proposing how to get there. You can work on an encompassing village master plan (years in the making, with much sturm and drang), or you can get there piece by piece with incremental progress. Neither method will be quick.

Regardless, you also need a mindset that is welcoming to new business and new development, in all its forms.

About three years ago, the then CDRC Board shot down a proposal that a village building owner put forth in conjunction with AT&T Wireless to build some barely noticeable flat panel antennas at parapet height on a flat roof. No one would have noticed it. Had it gone through, AT&T cellular would have gotten a much needed boost for quite a distance in and around the village. The proposal was rejected, and instead we deprived a building owner of revenue that might have been spent upgrading the village, and deprived all of us of better cell service.

However, we are starting to see small green shoots that may develop into something more vibrant given the chance. Cafe Positano coffee shop is a regular morning hangout now for many people. The Rancho Santa Fe Bistro is a relatively new great lunch (and dinner) place with a shaded outdoor patio.

Hopefully the new owners of Thyme In The Ranch will be allowed to expand/modify their restaurant to continue giving us a great lunch spot.

Our village has a lot going for it. Here’s a small and probably incomplete list of services it offers:

  • Banking
  • Dry cleaning, alterations
  • Flowers
  • Medical (Doctors, Optometrists, Dentists)
  • Pharmacy
  • Several retail stores
  • Package/postal store and the post office
  • Many great restaurants and eateries
  • Architects
  • Of course, real estate, insurance, and escrow companies

I’m sure I’ve missed a few things. Soon we may have a grocery store back again with the Gateway project, and an expanded pharmacy (which would prompt me to switch my prescriptions to it once it is built).

BUT the only way it is going to get even better is if TWO things happen:

1. Start patronizing village businesses. The only way to attract more retail is to have more customers. Instead of having your lunch in Solana Beach, why don’t you start a rotation of:

  • Rancho Santa Fe Bistro
  • Thyme in the Ranch
  • The Inn
  • Mille Fleurs
  • Nick and G’s
  • Our clubhouse by the golf course

Geez, there’s no reason to have lunch or dinner anywhere else!

2. The CDRC and Board must be developer friendly. I’m not saying they aren’t now, but I would bet that the perception isn’t great for anyone wanting to do something on the order of a new pharmacy or the Gateway project. As I’ve said in previous columns, the mindset has to be to partner and help developers rather than be at best neutral or antagonistic. The alternative is that we can watch the village slowly be taken over by more real estate offices.

 


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