North City, the $2 billion San Marcos project that’s seen as a critical North County economic driver, is recovering quickly from a downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Developed by Sea Breeze Properties with a mix of student housing for the adjacent California State University San Marcos, market rate housing and commercial space, North City has been hailed by city officials as becoming the downtown that San Marcos has lacked.
New businesses are moving in or expanding in North City East – the portion of the overall North City project that is closest to the university on Barnham Drive – and grading is finishing on the 40-acre North City West on the west side of Twin Oaks Valley Road for residential development.
North City East will have some commercial space, but Tess Sangster, community and economic development director for San Marcos, said details on the makeup of North City East are still being worked out by the developer.
Designed by Safdie Rabines Architects based in Mission Hills, the overall North City project covers nearly 200 acres and has been entitled for 3,400 residential units, 450 hotel rooms, 1,100,000 square feet of offices, and 345,000 square feet of retail space, according to Seabreeze Properties’ website.
Among recent additions, Cohn Restaurant Group has taken over about 21,000 square feet of what had been Urge Gastropub & Common House, which closed during the pandemic and had been a centerpiece of the retail portion of North City East.
The remodeled space will have eight bowling lanes, arcade games and expansive video wall, private rooms for meetings and events, and an outdoor patio and beer garden.
Wynston’s Ice Cream, a family-owned ice cream shop that won a national award for its chocolate ice cream, is moving from the 100-square-foot shop it had been leasing at North City, to a 2,000 square-foot location within North City.
Wynston’s will share the new space with Maya’s Cookies. Owned by Maya Madsen, the wholesale bakery and corporate gift company offers gourmet vegan cookies.
Carlsbad-based brewery, Rouleur Brewing Company recently announced that it has negotiated with the Cohn Restaurant Group to lease a brewing space at North City alongside Draft Republic as its second brewery location.
Rouleur Brewing is moving into what had been the home of Mason Ale Works, which ceased operations as a result of the pandemic.
Rouleur will have nearly 4,000 square feet of interior brewing space and about 2,000 square feet of exterior service-yard space. Rouleur also will be brewing white label beers for the Cohn Restaurant Group/Draft Republic.
A Catalyst for Growth
In a drive to help fuel North City’s growth, the San Diego North Economic
Development Council teamed up with the City of San Marcos and researchers from the San Diego Association of Governments to show that companies interested in moving into North City would have a ready pool of well-educated workers from which to draw.
“We think that North City is really an interesting development. We think that it has significant opportunities to be an economic catalyst for the entire (State Road 78) corridor, especially San Marcos and the entire eastern half of the corridor,” said Erik Bruvold, CEO of the San Diego North Economic Development Council.
“It’s really an important development for all of North County,” Bruvold said. “It’s one of the relatively few green-field areas that we’ve got left in the region. It’s offering a really unique kind of product or market position, whatever you want to call it, of creating a live, work, play neighborhood.”
Sea Breeze Properties
Principal: Gary Levitt
Headquarters: Carmel Valley
Business: real estate developer
Notable: Sea Breeze has developed a variety of projects in San Diego County including Torrey Hills Center shopping center, Solana Breeze and Duck Pond Ranch residential communities and Carmel View offices.