A San Diego development company is planning a mixed-used project in Poway estimated to cost about $100 million that city officials said will be a big step toward providing Poway with a walkable downtown.
The plan by Fairfield Residential based in Sorrento Valley would replace the vacant Poway Fun Bowl and partially vacant Carriage Square West retail center at 12845 Poway Road and 12941 Poway Road with 212 market rate apartments, about 11,364 square feet of commercial space, and 9,955 square feet of public plazas, according to a December presentation to the Poway City Council.
Mayor Steve Vaus said the Fairfield Residential project “will continue to breathe new life into Poway Road.”
“Originally, they came to us with a plan that there weren’t enough community benefits involved, there wasn’t enough parking provided. They needed to really step up and make it more Poway,” Vaus said. “With great credit to them, they came back with a much improved plan that we could get behind in a great way.”
The project would cover a 6.6-acre site and be a mix of one-story, three-story and four-story buildings.
“It’s going to bring a product to the market that we really haven’t had previously and allow folks that work up in our very popular business park to live closer to home and live closer to work,” Vaus said. “I see us as kind of a Mayberry of the county, kind of old fashioned, community-centric living experience. That’s why people want to live here and if we can provide housing opportunities that give more people the opportunity to live here, that’s great.”
David Dilday, director of land development and investment for Pacific Coast Commercial, said the Fairfield Residential project “is probably one of the largest projects they (Poway) approved in 40 or 50 years.”
“This creates kind of a move-up and nice housing for the employees of that business park,” Dilday said.
The four-story buildings are a bit unusual for Poway and would be in the center of the site below the Poway Road street elevation in keeping with requirements of a city specific plan adopted in 2017 to encourage redevelopment along Poway Road.
They would step down to three stories along the southern property line.
Poway limits building height to 38 feet but Fairfield Residential was able to go up to four stories on some of the buildings because of the site topography that slopes down from Poway Road, Vaus said.
“We found that we could add 10 feet to a structure without significantly impacting the view shed,” Vaus said.
Commercial space would be on the ground floor of the buildings along Poway Road.
An 8,840 square-foot eastern landscaped plaza would include shade trees, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant benches and log seats, seating boulders, picnic tables with shade umbrellas, climbing logs and boulders with a shade sail, and water play feature.
A 1,115 square-foot western plaza would include “seating, landscaping and hardscape intended to enrich the Poway Road frontage,” according to Fairfield Residential.
The project would also have 382 parking spaces.
The plan is to attract multiple restaurants as commercial tenants including a neighborhood restaurant row along the plaza and open seating areas.
The project also was designed with multiple pedestrian access along Poway Road to draw people into the site, according to Fairfield Residential.
Passageways would be left ungated to allow people to walk onto the property and connect it with surrounding developments.
The Fairfield Residential project would be the third such redevelopment along Poway Road in the city’s drive to create a modern downtown.
“We started years back with a desire to reimagine and revitalize Poway Road. We put together a community group, did a Poway Road corridor study, tried to figure out how we could make it more attractive to developers without overwhelming the area,” Vaus said. “The question always was, would the market think we had a good balance. As it turns out, the market has responded.”
Vaus said Poway Road had “some very old and very tired strip malls,” including the one Fairfield Residential has taken over for its project.