Morning Meeting of MainStreet Oceanside

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Two proposed downtown condominium projects were explained at the monthly Morning Meeting of MainStreet Oceanside Tuesday.

First up were Mark Benjamin and Ed Leonard of Archipelago Development talking about their project of 10 flats plus five work-live lofts, at Seagaze Drive and Nevada Street on what Benjamin said “has been a chained off parking lot forever.”

“Progress is coming; change is coming,” Benjamin told the standing-room-only audience of about 65 people. He added that much of what is happening now is “infill” in already developed areas of the city.

Benjamin said developers are focusing on “baby boomers”.

“We’re not going off to retirement homes,” Benjamin said, including himself. “We want to be downtown, active” and the “ideal community” is close to services, from medical to commercial. Flexible design also is desired, he said.

“Our own research into downtown Oceanside drove our design,” Benjamin said,. “There’s a lot of cool stuff here.”

He likes some of the architecture of the’50s, ’60s and ’70s, Benjamin said, (particularly citing the North County Transit District building across Mission Avenue from his project), “Some may not like it, but I think it’s a pretty cool building,” Benjamin said of the transit-district headquarters.

“High quality” will be the focus of the new project, he said, as he showed drawings of his proposed structure with a type of screening around the building which affords privacy.

No parking would show, he said, as it would be underneath the building.

The plans showed bicycle racks in front, and, from the audience, Tom Frankum said that didn’t look like a safe place to anchor $4,000-$5,000 bicycles as some of his friends have. Benjamin explained that those racks are for visitors and there is secure storage for tenants.

He said live/work tenants might be such as an acupuncturist, massage therapist or
architect-designer. These units feature 20-foot ceilings.

“We’re really pulling the building back” off the street with landscaping, Benjamin said.

He did not answer directly a question about the price range but said his company is “not driven to maximize every dollar”. “I think it’s a product type people are looking for, ” he said, citing 2,000 square-foot units with two bedrooms, two baths, an office niche and ocean views.

As to the time frame, Benjamin said, “it’s pretty much taken us a year and half” to get where they are now. He thought the development should have its permits by the end of the year and then take a year to build after that. There’s a lot left to do, he said.

More information on the project can be found on the MainStreet Oceanside website.

Second on the program were John Schiess and Francesco Dorigo of JCSA Oceanside with their project of 15 residential and three commercial units at One 11 Tremont Street. It is across the street from Oceanside Transit Center. Schiess said there are currently three rental units and a vacant lot on the property and it does not include the church on the corner.

Schiess called himself “a recent transplant from Chicago” – Oak Park, actually – and said he loves it in Oceanside.

Coming West, he said, he found that Oceanside is ranked as the second most-affordable city on California’s coastline. His wife vetoed the No. 1 city – Eureka – saying it would feel more like living in Oregon.

Schiess, too, said he favors infill development, not wanting to build new roads.

His project involves three buildings of four stories each (46 feet tall) with five single-story luxury condo units each over commercial space. The units average 1,440 square feet each with two bedrooms and two baths (two and a half baths in the penthouses).

Terraces will provide ocean and city views. “This is the prime feature of our
development,” he said.

Already, Schiess said, a coffee roaster is interested in one of the commercial spaces.

Construction will follow top-standard green guidelines, which, Schiess said, “is setting a pretty high bar” with every raindrop having to go through a biological filter and construction materials being recycled. Everything will be sourced locally, he said, so that kitchen cabinets, for instance, aren’t shipped from overseas.

He said he is a bit farther along than the previously mentioned project and has held two neighborhood community meetings to discuss his plans. Schiess said it would be
presumptive to believe he knows more than the neighbors and “it behooves us to get it right the first time.”

Schiess estimated construction at nine months to one year per building, once permits are issued. He hopes to break ground in early summer.

More information on the project can be found on the MainStreet Oceanside website.

Rick Wright, MainStreet Executive Director, called the two projects “emblematic of
what’s happening downtown”.

Wright said he’s been disturbed by “the negative narrative swirling around” the downtown development projects, especially the long-proposed S. D. Malkin plan for two hotels on either side of Mission Avenue along Pacific Street. Ground was broken last month.

It’s been talked about – and reviewed and reviewed – for a decade, Wright noted.
“There’s been more public input on this project than any other ever before in the city,” he said, to which someone in the audience corrected: “in the world.”

Wright said hundreds of people attended the public meetings on the hotel project – so many that they had to be held in the Beach Community Center. He said the city used to have 23 committees and commissions, and the Malkin project was reviewed by every one of them. It also went before the state Coastal Commission multiple times, Wright said.

“We did our due diligence.”

“This project is going to change downtown forever,” Wright said. “I’m just glad they broke ground in our lifetime.”

He said there were signup sheets in the back of the room for people who want “real-time construction updates” on downtown development projects as well as another signup sheet for those who want e-mail notifications of and notes from the monthly meetings. (Editors note: visit HowDoYouOside.com to sign up for real-time construction updates by text or email.)

In other business:

New City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez, representing the Second District, was introduced by Wright. Rodriguez had been on the agenda to speak at last month’s meeting, but he hadn’t been able to make it. He said this time that “I fully support MainStreet Oceanside” and that he had left business cards in the back and he looks forward to talking to people.

–Ben Magaña from Mariposa Ice Cream in San Diego – but also selling from a kiosk near the Oceanside pier for the past five years – weekends in the winter, daily in the summer – brought a cooler full of cups of the sweet frozen stuff for everyone to sample. He also has a booth at the Sunset Market. Magaña is from a longtime Eastside Oceanside family.

–Cathy Nykiel, Sunset Market Manager, said – tongue in cheek – that it
had been “a great month at the market” because, actually, it had suffered from multiple rainouts.

–Nykiel also had placed postcards on the tables and said Wright had sent out emails the day before about the 25th annual Independence Parade at 10 a.m. June 29. “Our three heroes” this year are Larry Hatter, Colleen O’Harra and Max Disposti . Nykiel said the parade needs 100 volunteers.

Information is available at Oceansideparade.com. “I do not think the parade is supported enough by the business community,” Wright said, adding that it’s only $100 for a commercial entry. From the audience, Kim Millwood, local restaurateur and MainStreet board member, said “I highly recommend” the parade for the good publicity it provides for only $100. “It’s a no-brainer,” Wright added.

–Patrick Young, the City’s Special Events Coordinator, talked about the Iron Man
Triathlon competition the first week in April. He said it will attract 3,500 athletes and
20,000 spectators and will be held in the pier and amphitheater area despite the
construction going on around there.

–Young also mentioned the “Animal Kingdom” television show, which films partly in
Oceanside, and said the film crews are due back April 23-26.

–Jane Marshall, president of Oceanside Coastal Neighborhood Association, announced the group’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 19 at St, Mary’s School, 515 Wisconsin Ave. with a chance to meet new City Councilman Ryan Keim and a discussion of a proposed short-term-rental ordinance with City Planner Jeff Hunt.

–Also, Marshall said, the annual 1.5-mile native-plant walking tour will take place at 2 p.m. March 31, leaving from the school.

–Cerina de Souza, Director of Marketing and Communications for Visit Oceanside, said she had placed a list of spring break dates for various schools and colleges in the back of the room. Dates varied from March 9 through April 28.

— Robert Botkin from the Boys & Girls Club said its Cuisine for Kids program would be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday March 7 with samples of food and drink from local restaurants available for a $50 donation.

–Teddy and Crystal Dalsey talked about their “Ride Oside” adventures, including a $100 helicopter tour as well as power boating in the harbor and off-road activities.

–Lori Lawson said there will be an interesting free program for local businesses at the Chamber of Commerce from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday, March 29.

–Susan Brown said the past week’s First Friday Art Walk experienced a “fabulous
turnout” and the next such event will be April 5.

–Paul Cauthen publicized the Second Annual Goat for Joe Golf Classic March 23 at the Goat Hill course. He said it will benefit suicide prevention and mental health awareness and is named for a local man, Joe Nuñez, a suicide victim two years ago.

The next monthly Morning Meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. April 2 at the MainStreet office, 701 Mission Ave.

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