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Billionaire developer has sight set near Carlsbad strawberry fields

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CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Billionaire developer Rick Caruso responsible for the Grove and the Americana in Los Angeles has his sights set on Carlsbad.

For the last three years, Caruso and his team have been eyeing the more than 200 acres of land south of the Hedionda Lagoon near the strawberry fields, east of Interstate 5.

“It's not only beautiful in terms of scenic beauty, but it's beautiful in terms of people on the lagoon,” said Caruso.

If his plans are approved, Caruso plans to build an outdoor shopping and dining space across 26 acres of land. The plan provides that 85 percent of the 203 acres will be preserved as newly accessible open space and agricultural land, including miles of new trails and picnic areas.

“We have talked to about 4,000 residents of Carlsbad and what they want is new retail, the kind that is about the gathering space,” said Caruso.

The project is tentatively being called 85/15. In late August, it will seek approval from the city council before it can begin construction.

To sweeten the pot, Caruso plans to use revenue from the promenade to fund conservation of the area’s natural habitat with no cost to taxpayers.

In terms of water conservation, the project is slated to use recycled water through an existing pipeline already running through the area.

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  • M Simons

    Drive by there few times a week, it has been slowly developed some months ago, surveyed, new fence, and some small crops, like they were waiting for something more to do it. How much shopping do we need ? Got plenty along 78, then Carlsbad outlet mall.

    • Klaus Kirchhoff

      M. Simmons, we do not have currently quality retail shopping in Carlsbad. this development would be a great improvement over what we in Carlsbad have now. Don’t question positive plans without a solid argument other than being negative.

      • ashley

        I think they have a great argument. I’m sure driving 10 minutes to the mall is really hard for you.

      • Michael T

        I agree. We don’t have quality shopping here in Carlsbad, and people who think we do just don’t know any better. After, having lived in San Diego for close to 20 years and Fashion Valley being my main shopping mall Carlsbad has is lovely but has a long, long way to go in the shopping department. It’s been like moving Mayberry. The Forum is a step in the right direction, but it would be nice to have more choices. Goodness, it’s not like there’s not enough cash flow here.

  • sandman

    The good news is more shopping choices. The bad news is if you want a decent commute to south Orange or San Diego, you are going to have to use Palomar Airport.

  • ashley

    Recycled water? How much does one city have…..? I’m sure he could careless about water conservation and the effect this will have on our community. Sad to see people care more about convenience than our environment.

  • sd@heart

    Well I guess if the Ukegawa gets to grow his strawberries forever, Ms. Simons gets her foundation donation, and that smirking Chamber of Commerce guy gets his you know what, Caruso’s development must be ok , right?

  • ecofriend

    It’s a wetlands people. Caruso doesn’t own the property yet, he is just doing the dirty work for Sempra. Giving 15% of this precious ecosystem to a “billionaire” Beverly Hills developer is a travesty. With all the money Sempra takes from the hard working people of San Diego County, you figure they could donate it and keep it as open space, not build another Nordstroms on it. 85/15 plan sounds delicious, but its a false choice. Just say no and keep it for ourselves.


    Leave the strawberry fields and the surrounding areas alone! Stay away from them! Houses can be built on the miles of wasteland and scrub brush east. Why go after our dinner?

  • Jojo

    So another greedy developer from LA wants to pave over wetlands and marsh so he can make another billion dollars? And we are going to let him do it for some hiking trails and picnic tables? Shame on you Sempra, shame on you Mr. Caruso. How much money do you need Mr. Caruso?

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