San Marcos: New Restaurant Row owner proposes mixed-use project at site

SAN MARCOS — The new owner of the Old California Restaurant Row property in San Marcos has applied to develop over 200 housing units and 10,000 square feet of new commercial space on a portion of the site still home to several businesses. 

Located along West San Marcos Boulevard and Via Vera Cruz, Restaurant Row has been a San Marcos pillar since it was founded by developer Jim Eubank in the 1970s, hosting a variety of mom-and-pop as well as chain eateries over the years.  

Many were shocked when the Eubank family sold the land to a company called San Marcos Restaurant Row LLC at the end of 2020, as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune. Application materials submitted to the city of San Marcos on June 17 identify the new owner as Elizabeth Papera and real estate company Lennar Homes of California as the developer and applicant for the project. 

The submitted plans cover a nearly 11-acre site area in the center of the property, partially bordering West San Marcos Boulevard. Most of the area is currently used for parking but also houses businesses The King & I of San Marcos, Landon’s East Meets West, Old California Mining Company, The 55 Yardline Sports Bar and Grill, and IHOP in two separate buildings. 

City officials do not know whether the developer plans to displace these businesses as part of their project.

“If they are going to be displaced, I don’t know if the developer is going to be working with the existing businesses to find space for them in their plan,” said city spokeswoman Tess Sangster. “[Whether] it is or isn’t his plan, our goal is to be able to have them continue their business. It would be great if we could get them set up at another location in town.” 

Leaders of Lennar’s San Diego division said they are still early in the process for the project but are envisioning a thriving residential and commercial area. 

“Our vision for the area is to create a vibrant and walkable neighborhood with outdoor dining, shops and services, social gathering spaces and new housing,” said Alex Plishner, senior vice president of Lennar’s San Diego division. “Plans are still very early in the application process, but we look forward to hearing feedback from members of the community.”

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