After many years of waiting, work to start on San Elijo’s Town Center

After perhaps 15 years of waiting — and trying not to lose faith — San Elijo Hills residents will finally see restaurants and shops go up on vacant land in the commercial heart of the upscale community.

Grading is set to begin next week on a weedy, fenced-in patch of dirt in the middle of the sprawling master-planned development in southern San Marcos. Construction should start around October, and the first businesses could open by next spring on the 5 acres of vacant land in what is essentially downtown San Elijo.

“I know there has been skepticism. I hope to cure that in a few weeks as we start creating dust and showing people what a great project this is,” said Duncan Budinger, director of retail development for Ambient Communities, which is building the project. “We fully believe we are going to meet or exceed the expectations of the community.”

Residents and the city of San Marcos have long demanded the completion of San Elijo Town Center, a retail hub expected to serve the thousands of homes. The median income within a one-mile radius of the Town Center site was nearly $95,000 last year, according to the project developers.

The plan calls for 34,000 square feet of restaurants and retail, as well as 24 townhomes — three-story units with rooftop decks.

The project will be built in two phases, and should be done by the end of 2018.

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