The CC News January 2010 issue featured the great news that Bay View Plaza, the long-empty shopping center at the bottom of Clairemont Drive, had signed an anchor tenant, Vista-based grocery store Frazier Farms. After two years of nothing visible happening, and no answer from the developer other than “looking for financing”, there is news again: the property has new ownership.
According Craig Clark, previous owner of the property and principal of CW Clark, and Bruce Schiff, former leasing agent for the project, even with the signed lease from Frazier Farms, CW Clark could not raise the financing to complete the redevelopment as planned.
Finally the project (not the developer) went bankrupt, and it was sold through the bankruptcy court to a group of Egyptian investors. According to Mr. Clark, they have the money to redevelop the property, and he thinks they can use the demolition permit that was issued to CW Clark to tear everything down. Mr. Clark thinks the City would welcome that, as the empty building poses a number of hazards.
As to their plans for the property, Mr. Schiff said he thought the plan was to build mostly residential units with a small amount of retail space. Mr. Clark confirmed that was his impression too about what was being planned. Unfortunately, none of the new owners were available to comment, as they were out of the country tending to family business in Egypt.
The community has lived with this eyesore at its “front door” for years. Readers have suggested myriad businesses they would like to see go in there, mostly grocery stores like Fresh and Easy and Trader Joe’s. Not one has pleaded for more housing in the area, so the community’s response to a plan that includes a large housing component is likely to be controversial.
Fortunately, any plan for that property must be presented to the Clairemont Mesa Planning Group for review and comment before it goes to the City for approval. In this way, the residents of the area have an opportunity to share their own priorities and vision for the project.
All this will take time, and in the meantime we will still have the empty lot to contend with. Read Councilmember Zapf’s article on page 3 of the January 2012 edition of the CC News for more details on how the City will be involved while the property awaits its fate.