A digital rendering of The Watermark San Diego reveals an inviting outdoor shopping experience, with upscale retail and dining options complemented by open courtyards and fountains. (image courtesy of Sudberry Properties)
Watermark: retail, dining, entertainment
The Watermark retail center will bring new options for shopping, dining and entertainment close to home for Scripps Ranch residents. Scheduled to break ground in the first quarter of 2019 and open in the fall of 2020, the center’s future site is located on the southeast corner of Scripps Poway Parkway and Scripps Highlands Drive.
The new development will feature grocery retailer Whole Foods; a modern, 140-room Element Hotel by Marriott; a luxury theater with reclining seats and gourmet food options; chef-driven restaurants; coffee shops; bistros; and both national and local retailers.
According to Colton Sudberry, CEO and president of Sudberry Properties, the developer on the project, The Watermark is “not going to be like your typical shopping center.”
He explained that parking would be largely structured, rather than expansive parking lots, in order to optimize space for “plazas and paseos and courtyards,” throughout the center.
Additionally, there will be “a large green space for community events, concerts, holiday events and outdoor movies in the park,” he said.
Adjacent to the site being developed is pharmacy benefit management company MedImpact. Preliminary grading work presently visible at the site is preparation for an additional office building that will be occupied by the company in the second quarter of 2019.
Long rumored among members of the community, discussions regarding how the site would be developed began between landowners and potential developers nearly a decade ago. Shifts in decisions about intended use, then land titling and rezoning, followed by identification, selection and execution of preleasing agreements with potential tenants have accounted for the lengthy process and delays.
With regard to which retailers and types of tenants that have been identified for the development, Sudberry explained that while they have a “merchandising mix that we strive to hit to have a good balance of restaurants and retail and entertainment,” they also welcome resident input regarding things they would like to see as part of the new center.
“Sudberry has done an outstanding job of working with and listening to the community,” said Lorayne Burley, vice chair of the Miramar Ranch North Planning Committee (MRNPC).
The Watermark project was “introduced to our planning group when I first joined the board more than 10 years ago,” she said.
According to Burley, “the majority of the community has always been in favor,” however, the primary area of concern among residents surrounds traffic impact, including concerns for pedestrian and bike safety.
Scripps Ranch resident Anthony Eusebio explained that while he and his family are excited to have more local retail and entertainment options, he is concerned about traffic with the new development.
“It’s so close to the freeway on-ramp and exit, and it’s already so crazy there in the mornings and evenings,” he said.
According to Burley, “Colton is trying to do everything he can to address traffic. He agreed to some traffic mitigation measures that were not legally required of him, but Sudberry [Properties] realizes the importance of working with the community.”
In a letter dated Oct. 1, 2013 from Sudberry Development to the Miramar Ranch planning group, Sudberry outlined 10 traffic mitigation measures the developer was making efforts to address. Included among these are: creation of a direct access bike path to the project from the existing bike path located along I-15, lengthening of the southbound left turn pocket on Scripps Poway Parkway turning on to Scripps Highlands Drive, the addition of pedestrian-generated red flashing lights and “no turn on red” signage, and synchronization of traffic lights between the I-15 intersection with intersection lights of the development. According to the letter, “resolution of most of these issues will require the approval of the City and/or Caltrans, but we are willing to make a reasonable effort to obtain their approval.”
Sudberry explained that he and his company are “excited about bringing The Watermark” to Scripps Ranch.
“It’s been a long time in the works and it’s going to be a really fun project for the community. It will be a real destination and a place you want to go to on Friday and Saturday night just to hang out,” he said.
An official announcement by Sudberry Properties is expected this summer. For more information, visit thewatermarksandiego.com.