Plans revised for affordable housing in Oceanside Transit Center development

Plans revised for affordable housing in Oceanside Transit Center development

Preliminary plans to redevelop the 10.2-acre Oceanside Transit Center with a large hotel, hundreds of apartments, retail stores and offices have been submitted to the Oceanside Planning Department.

Toll Brothers, Inc., filed its application with the city on Aug. 30 for permits and other entitlements needed to build the mixed-use project on the South Tremont Street property owned by North County Transit District, said Robert Dmohowski, the city’s project manager.

For the record:

8:55 a.m. Sept. 12, 2022The date has been corrected for a community meeting to discuss the transit center redevelopment project. It is 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Oceanside Civic Center library.

The NCTD board voted unanimously in October 2020 to award an exclusive negotiating agreement to Toll Brothers, Inc., one of four companies that submitted proposals for the project. The other three were Holland Partner Group, National Community Renaissance (CORE), and Rhodes Moores, LLC.

The plan submitted to the city includes a parking structure with more than 1,798 spaces for residents and the various other uses on the property, Dmohowski said. The existing parking structure on the north side of the transit center would remain.

“The mixed-use development could accommodate approximately 550 new market-rate housing units and 80 affordable housing units,” NCTD Chief Development Director Tracey Foster said in a recent email to the district’s board of directors.

A 140-room boutique hotel also would be part of the project, Foster said.

“The proximity of these units to transit, as well as new retail and office space at the site, will incentivize transit usage and grow ridership for NCTD and our partners operating at the (Oceanside Transit Center),” Foster said in her letter to the board.

“The decrease in car dependency made possible by this transit-oriented development will in turn support economic growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decrease traffic congestion in the community,” Foster said.

Amtrak passenger trains, NCTD’s Coaster commuter trains and Sprinter light-rail trains, and Orange County’s Metrolink trains stop at the transit center, along with NCTD’s Breeze buses.

Along with the transit center development, Toll Brothers has applied to build 200 market-rate apartments and 30 affordable units at a second location that is now the NCTD headquarters on Mission Avenue. NCTD plans to move its headquarters to the new offices at the transit center.

The long-term lease of the agency’s property to developers also will provide a steady income separate from the grant money, fare revenue and other sources it depends on.

“Through these projects, NCTD will generate a stable source of revenue over a 99-year term, which will reduce the potential impacts of fluctuating economic conditions on NCTD’s ability to maintain routine operations,” Foster said.

Details of the project will be presented at a community meeting 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 at the Civic Center Library on North Coast Highway.

The initial proposal by Toll Brothers called for only market-rate apartments to be built at the transit center and only affordable housing in the Mission Avenue building.

The revised plan submitted in August calls for a combination of 550 market-rate units and 80 affordable units at the transit center, and 200 market-rate units and 30 affordable units in the building on Mission.

“It seems like a better approach to mix that up a little bit,” Foster said in a telephone interview Thursday.

The Oceanside project is just one of several developments NCTD is pursuing on property it owns in cities crossed by its rail lines.

Solana Beach has been working with the agency for decades to finalize plans for a mixed-use project at the Solana Beach Transit Center, known for its distinctive quonset-hut station. An environmental impact report was completed in 2006 for a project that the Solana Beach City Council voted down in 2008. A new proposal was unveiled in 2015, but construction is yet to begin.

“We are still working with the city of Solana Beach, trying to negotiate a deal,” Foster said Thursday. “We are getting closer and hope to have something in the near future.”

Also close is a deal to redevelop the Village and Poinsettia Coaster stations in Carlsbad, she said. The agency is evaluating mixed-use development proposals for the Carlsbad sites and will make a recommendation to the board in the next few months.

NCTD also is preparing a request for proposals to develop the 12.8 acres the agency owns at the Escondido Transit Center, Foster said. That project could be advertised for bids in October.

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