The Escondido City Council gave final approval of an Environmental Impact Report for a shopping center at terminus of the 78 Freeway at Broadway on Dec. 9. Building of a supermarket and restaurant are expected to start in spring of 2016.
The 3.7 acre center to be known as Counterpoint 78 will have a 4,800 square foot supermarket and a 3,200 square foot restaurant and 195 parking spaces.
Frank Turlo, who has spent 20 years running the Auto Thrift used car lot across the street from the project, addressed the council:
“This has been an eyesore that has been held over our heads for the last 10 or 11 years,” he said. “It’s time and I’m happy for it. I’m looking forward to there being a nice looking business on that corner.”
The corner lot at 925 N. Broadway has been occupied by a closed Toyota of Escondido site for many years.
Jim Simmons, representing the Pacific Chasse Development of Santa Monica, told the council that the company is talking to Starbucks and Sonic Drive-in, about taking the drive-through restaurant spot on the eastern side of the property.
The restaurant space is suited for a “quick-service restaurant (e.g., taco shop, hamburger shop, or coffee shop) with a drive-through,” according to a city planning document.
The west side will be occupied by a super-sized El Super grocery.
After the measure passed 4-0 with Councilwoman Olga Diaz absent, Simmons said, “This is a Mexican neighborhood so it will fit right in. The El Super is more like a Sprouts or a Whole Foods.”
The plan includes putting new traffic signals at Broadway and Lincoln Avenue, the first street parallel and north of the 78. The new corner will have new storm drains and pedestrian traffic controls.
Councilman Ed Gallo, who said he was a groceryman “in another life,” expressed concerns about parents picking up children from Lincoln School, which is parallel to the project across Lincoln Ave. He said grocery deliveries usually occur at night and that he never allowed deliveries after 9 a.m.
He said, “I’d really like to see a (street) sign that says there’s school here,” referring to the elementary school across Lincoln Avenue from the project.
The sidewalk on Broadway will be eliminated and pedestrians will cross Broadway on the north side of Lincoln and on the east side of Broadway. To meet the requirements of the EIR, the corner of Lincoln and Fig street will be widened to create a eastbound right turn lane.
The expected higher traffic volume expected also will be mitigated by two U-Turn pockets on El Norte Parkway at City Center Parkway and just east of Escondido Boulevard.