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Hatfield Plaza design will be 'what the community wants' — promises developer


July 17, 2013
For many years the old dilapidated house that may or may not have once been the home of San Diego's infamous bringer of catastrophic storms Charlie Hatfield was a combination of eyesore and landmark.

A few months ago developer Jerry Gaughan tore down the old house and has been working ever since on plans for the Hatfield Plaza that he promises will reflect the desires of the community.

Now a new commercial development named after Hatfield will rise in its place at the lot, which is on the corner of Banbury & Valley Center roads.

"All we know is that the end result will be what the community wants," he told The Roadrunner this week.

Currently the property, which is zoned C-36, consists of two legal lots adding up to 3.3 acres. Gaughan has applied to the County for a subdivision to turn two legal lots into four legal lots. Four lots are needed because Gaughan plans have multiple users and multiple owners on the property. The zoning allows for any general commercial use.

The first parcel, which fronts of Banbury, will be 13,000 square feet and will have a small office building of 2,200 square feet plus a parking lot. The second lot of 14,000 SF will also have a building of some sort. Parcel 3, which will be at the south end of the intersection will support a 2,400 SF fast food restaurant with a drive through. Which fast food eatery has not yet been decided. Any number of fast food restaurants could use this configuration.

The fourth and largest of the parcels, 1.7 acres will be the site of a two-story split-level building. It will have parking behind that will serve the second floor and parking in front for the first floor. The total building size will be 19,000 SF. The single story retail area on the first floor will be about 3,200 SF, and will be some kind of small retail commercial use, such as a small convenience store or a restaurant. It will have a 40X40 foot patio that could serve a deli.

The two-story building with access in the back would have office space on the second floor and small retail shops on the first floor accessed from the lower parking. The offices would be built to suit from a total of about 8,000 SF, which translates into about six offices.

The development is already being processed by the County. Gaughan is working with both the Valley Center Planning Group and Design Review Board on the design of the buildings.

Gaughan figures it will take about 12 months to get through the County's process and construction will follow. "We're looking at about a year and a half to open. We've bought connections to the sewer expansion," he said. He added, "We have six to eight months to scope out the buildings the way the community wants. That gives us time to work up sketches and proposing renderings, while the County is doing its part."

He added, "We are in the process of trying to come up with the look of early American Spanish that the planning group will accept."

The plan is to design a center using the Valley Center Design Guidelines and "work through the process of what will be acceptable to the community," said Gaughan.

Using topographical models the developer will be able to create a "model" of the proposed building and turn it into a movie to show the planners what the building would actually look like. Members can then make suggestions and see them become part of the model. "If they want to see more arches or towers we can add them and they will look real," said Gaughan. The same can be done with landscaping. It will be like the computer game Sim City, except on a realistic scale. Planners will even be able to see what the buildings will look like from different perspectives, say, across the street at Wynn Engineering.

"As we go through the community meetings we can take suggestions and incorporate them into the design," he said.

"The biggest hurdle is because it is a slope, no matter how you look at it is, all commercial needs to be as close to street level as possible." The property has a slope of as much as 18% in some places that will require retaining walls.

"The retaining walls and making them aesthetically pleasing will be our biggest obstacles," said Gaughan. "We will show with those drawings how we can pin chain link to the walls and plant ivy on them to completely cover the blocks so that you will almost be looking at a slope." He added. "We have a lot of different things that we will work with to show the community what it will look like before decisions can be made. All we know is that the end result will be what the community wants."

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