Frequently Asked Questions
of The Del Mar Resort
What is the Del Mar Resort Project?
At the intersection of Via De La Valle and Camino Del Mar, just above North Beach, is a 16-acre bluff top which has been home to private residences for the last 100 years. Many life-long residents of North County Coastal San Diego have driven, walked and biked past this site and wondered what was behind the gates.
Our intention is to open this incredible bluff top to the communities in North Coastal San Diego County by creating a resort without walls; a luxury enclave that so seamlessly melds with the City of Del Mar that you’ll feel like it’s an extension of your own backyard. Once atop this 16-acre site, you’ll immediately understand why this land was privately held and kept closed for so long; this is perhaps the most magnificent piece of land in all of Southern California.
What are the benefits to the local community?
The benefits to the community include creation of a “resort without walls,“—a place for the community to come together, for families and friends to connect, to enjoy the walking trail loop amenities, picnics and more.
How did community input shape this project?
We’ve spent the past year gathering community feedback via meetings, forums and casual conversations at the coffee shop. We incorporated this feedback into our design for a resort that will connect the community to the bluff. We truly believe we’ve achieved our goal to create a resort that Del Mar and Solana Beach residents will think of as their own – a cornerstone of the community where we can all gather to celebrate special events, entertain and enjoy, with no barriers, for the first time. As longtime North County coastal residents, we, like you, have walked and driven by this site many times and wondered what was beyond the gates and if we’d ever be able to enjoy it. Now, we hope to finally be able to turn wonder into a wonderful experience—a special place for our community and guests. We also have additional outreach activities, opportunities and meetings planned, including a Citizens Participation Review, a Design Review Board hearing, Planning Commission and City Council hearings (all publicly noticed).
How have you incorporated the feedback from the community into the design of the project?
Our initial proposal is a resort, branded resort villas, restaurants and meeting space, along with a public access park and walking trails. The community input we continue to gather will help shape how the property feels; the experiences that will be tailored and provided to guests and the community and is integral to ensuring the things that matter most are given thoughtful attention at every turn. We will continue dialog with the community to understand what will work for best for residents and businesses.
How long will the project take to come to fruition?
Our goal is to have an approved project by mid-2019 and resort opening in 2022.
How experienced are the developers in understanding the local community? How will they ensure the project complements the current landscape of the community?
Zephyr CEO Brad Termini and Robert Green, president and CEO of the Robert Green Company, are both longtime North County coastal residents, whose businesses are also located in North County with staff and partners living in the area. Zephyr’s philosophy is one that is uunconstrained by the thinking that limits many developers, we seek out the untapped potential of rare opportunities that create communities as unique as the people who live in them.
We believe our intimate understanding of the North County coastal community, and our vested interest in keeping its unique and special environment and attributes intact, while adding value with resources and amenities that will have a positive impact for the community and beyond are what make us uniquely suited to ensure this special project feels right at home in Del Mar.
How will the project benefit the community?
We’ve approached the creation of this exciting Del Mar Resort project with the intent to create a place where everyone (guests, visitors, neighbors, San Diegans) has access to the beach, the resort and the land. That is what we envision the Del Mar Resort to be—an extraordinary place with community amenities, including trails, access to the bluff reserve and more, that the public will be able to enjoy for the first time in 100 years. We also plan to create a connection to North Beach and improved access to Solana Beach.
What are the economic benefits of this project to the City of Del Mar and surrounding communities?
It’s hard for us to give an exact estimate until the City consultant’s economic analysis is finalized for the site, but the project will generate significant transient occupancy or “hotel” tax (TOT) and property taxes for the City of Del Mar that will greatly benefit the community.
Additionally, the surrounding businesses in Del Mar and Solana Beach will benefit in noteworthy ways, as resort guests and visitors enjoy the shopping areas along the nearby Cedros Avenue Design District and along Coast Highway in Solana Beach, as well as in Del Mar.
You mention the City will benefit from the TOT taxes. Do you know how those funds will be distributed?
The TOT taxes will provide great untold benefits to the City – much like the L’Auberge Del Mar resort, which is the leading TOT revenue generator to-date in the City. The City of Del Mar will determine the best use for the funds generated from the new resort.
Will new beach amenities be a part of the resort?
We’re in discussions with the City about removing the portable restrooms currently at North Beach, and replacing them with nicer facilities, to include permanent restrooms.
Who would pay for the facilities?
TOT tax generated from the resort, will cover the expense of the facilities.
Architecture & Design
How did you develop the design of the resort? Tell me about the architecture, and what you’ve done to ensure the resort blends into its environment?
The Del Mar Resort is planned to be approximately 251 guest rooms and 76 resort villas on private property totaling 16.5 acres of “resort grounds.” Trail amenities will be provided for everyone to enjoy the ocean, bluff area views, and City-owned preserve area. In comparison to our neighbors to the north, the resort is less dense and spread out over a larger piece of land, so essentially, it has a smaller footprint than neighboring properties. At our resort, only a small portion (less than 10% of the site area) is taller than three stories; only 20% is taller than two stories. For some context, our neighbor to the north’s buildings are three to four stories. As proposed, the project’s height is in conformance with the land form and with other Specific Plans in the City. The site itself is contoured and the buildings are designed to fit into the natural landscape and be set into the contour, so they appear to be “stepping back” and away from the bluffs edge so it does not have an appearance of overwhelming the bluffs’ edge.
How are you going to address design and aesthetic concerns as related to the architecture, and ensure the resort blends into its environment?
Robert Glazier and Gensler’s design will be high-quality, timeless and lasting, a true asset to the surrounding communities of Del Mar and Solana Beach. Our architect has specialized in world-class destinations for 30 years and has national and international recognition for his unique architecture and natural site features. Gensler is one of the largest architecture firms in the world and has an unparalleled scope of experience.
We are determined to create something that fits into the landscape and scale of the community and is characteristic of Del Mar and its history, a true legacy for the community.
The renderings I saw were four stories – 20 feet taller than homes in the area. How can you ensure that residents’ views will not be obstructed?
Concerns about view impacts on neighboring properties, particularly located directly next door to the subject site, are appropriate and legitimate, and will be addressed in an open and fair manner.
During the environmental and design review process, key observation points and views of the property from the surrounding area will be studied to assess impacts. Except for the 13 units along the shared boundary line with the resort property, Del Mar Beach Club residents’ views are not impacted.
We have visited several of the 13 condominiums next door to assist in assessing view impacts. Our hope remains that we can find a common ground with respect to neighbors.
How will you mitigate any potential concerns about lighting?
The Specific Plan prepared for the property addresses proposed regulation of lighting for the property and lighting design guidelines. Lighting impacts have been considered and will be prevented to the maximum extent feasible. Lighting adjacent to neighboring areas will be directed away from those areas. When necessary, lighting will be adequately shielded to protect from “spillover” or excessive night lighting. We have also retained a lighting design consultant who has worked on numerous similar world-class resorts.
We will implement “dark skies” lighting – designed to lessen impact. The plan includes nicely designed and low-profile pathway lighting with careful attention to potential impacts on neighboring areas. Accent lighting will light focal points and be low to the ground or out of sight. Pathway lighting will be directed away from adjacent properties and public rights-of-way. Lighting that is next to open space areas will be directed away from those areas.
Traffic & Parking
What is your traffic mitigation strategy?
How are you going to divert any potential traffic issues on Sierra Avenue?
Access to the resort is on Border Avenue and this design has considered impacts to our neighbors to the north. The design includes a raised median that blocks exiting traffic from using Sierra Avenue to the north and directs traffic onto Via De La Valle to the east. Border Avenue’s design allows adequate capacity and distance to the Via De La Valle intersection for cars coming and going to the site. Resorts typically have the least impact to the community – compared to other land uses – in relation to traffic and parking issues. People coming to a resort typically leave cars at home – or park them on site – and instead walk, bike or use car sharing services. We are also working to provide electric bikes, shuttles and “house” cars to increase transportation options and minimize traffic congestion. We’ve also been working hard with our traffic engineering team to improve current and potential traffic issues in the area. We are conducting a comprehensive Environmental Impact Report, which includes a traffic study by our engineering team to ensure traffic congestion is minimized. We will undertake a thorough analysis to mitigate traffic on potentially high impact streets such as Sierra and Via de la Valle.
Have you considered taking access off Camino Del Mar versus Border Avenue?
We did consider this option. We worked with both our consultants and the City of Del Mar to obtain input on this matter and it was determined that because the entry would be located on a grade, it would create a potentially dangerous and congested traffic safety condition at Via de la Valle and Highway 101 intersection. Therefore this option was determined unfeasible.
How are you going to mitigate construction noise, traffic, dirt and dust for spilling into surrounding neighborhoods?
We will work to cause as little of an inconvenience to our neighbors as possible. The City of Del Mar requires a thorough review of a construction traffic control plan, location of construction traffic entry and exit, number of construction vehicles entering and exiting the site, along with dust control, street cleaning and hours of operation. Every effort will be made to make life easy as possible for our neighbors. The construction of the resort will be carefully managed and planned to pose as little inconvenience on our neighbors as possible. City restrictions on traffic control management, hours of operation, site maintenance and street cleaning will be strictly enforced.
What are your plans for managing parking—both public and for the resort?
The parking plan is still being studied, but ample parking will be provided for the resort, villas, employees of the resort, beachgoers and the public who visit the resort. Parking on the street by employees of the resort will not be allowed and strongly enforced, including parking demand management offering alternative travel options to and from work, parking passes and transportation passes.
Our plan includes an underground garage for guests and members of the public who want to visit the resort and have their car valet-parked. While we are removing about 40 spots on Via De La Valle, over 100 parking spaces will be created for public use, resulting in a net increase of 60 new parking spaces. Sufficient parking will be provided for employees of the resort. We will exceed Del Mar code requirements.
What will be done with the North Bluff Preserve? Will there be parks built on it or will additional trails be added?
The North Bluff Preserve is owned by the people of the City of Del Mar and the City has decided that it remain in its natural state. Changes to the actual preserve are not a part of our proposal and decisions about the open space are made by the City of Del Mar. The City is studying the entire area, including the preserve, the adjacent public beach, the bluffs, and the City’s property along Camino Del Mar to determine the Community’s long term needs for preservation and accessibility, as well as facility and recreational needs.
Will the mature trees on the property be preserved?
We are committed to following the strict guidelines for Del Mar’s Tree Ordinance, which prohibits the removal of valued and protected trees. There are certain trees that are permanent that will absolutely stay, and our goal is to preserve as much of the natural landscape as we can.
How will you ensure the project is environmentally friendly and sustainable?
We’re fully committed to not only meeting but exceeding the highest sustainability standards for this resort. This means incorporating best practices from start to finish during the building process, and also once the resort is completed. We will reduce our footprint through a variety of green measures, and plan on achieving CalGreen Tier 1 – LEED Silver-equivalent Certification.
Will sand be depleted from the beach?
The project will not deplete sand on the beach. Additionally, we have proposed a partnership with the City in a revenue sharing program as an endowment to the City for sand replenishment and beach preservation in the community. We’ll work with the City to determine the best strategy for continued preservation of the beach.
Who will the resort be for? Will everyone in the community have access to the resort, or is it just for wealthy out-of-towners?
This resort is for everyone. This is the first time in 100 years that the public will have access to this amazing piece of property and we are planning for significant public amenities, including trail and blufftop outlooks, view sites, restaurants, cafes and sitting areas. Additionally, we’ll have a walkway that wraps around the resort, which is open to the public, that will have outlook areas, tables, benches, workout stations and more.
Everyone will be able to enjoy the property – whether they’re a hotel or restaurant guest, or not. We want to see a diversity of visitors picnicking, walking, jogging and just enjoying the land!
Will your resort be ADA accessible and accessible to the elderly and disabled who have trouble getting around? Travel from the resort down the trails to the beach?
Yes, the resort will all meet ADA standards. It will also feature accessible pathway trails leading to the beach. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the property and amenities.
What types of restaurants will be at the resort and will they be open to the public?
We plan for four restaurants, will be open to the public: world-class fine dining, with ocean views toward the south and west; casual dining, also with expansive views; a poolside restaurant and bar; and a casual café, which will serve as a perfect place to meet with friends for coffee or grab a snack after a long bike ride down Highway 101.
Will you change access to North Beach (Dog Beach)?
The beach belongs to the people of Del Mar and we have proposed no changes to it in our plans.
North Bluff Preserve
Will the public continue to have access to the North Bluff Preserve?
Yes, in fact, we’re working with the City to improve connectivity and access to the reserve, trails, North Beach, Solana Beach and more. Our intent has always been to do what the City wants. Final decisions about the open space will be made by the City of Del Mar.
What sorts of things will be added to the Preserve, trails? Will there be picnic benches, tables?
Specifics still need to be determined by the City of Del Mar, but elements proposed include look-out points and benches. The number one priority is to maintain the natural ecosystem, landscape and native vegetation of the preserve.
How do you protect the preserve while also allowing more access to it?
The two goals will work hand-in-hand. More structured trails and pathways are needed to protect the natural vegetation and landscape of the preserve from being trampled. And these defined pathways will create more connectivity to surrounding trails, the beach, etc. for residents and visitors to enjoy.
Who’s in charge of maintenance on the preserve?
Specifics still need to be determined, but rest assured, the preservation and maintenance of the preserve is our priority, and we’ll work with the City to determine the best way to do this.
Will the Coast to Crest Trail be accessible via the resort and North Bluff Preserve?
Yes, part of the Coast to Crest Trail is on the City of Del Mar’s preserve property, and we plan to provide connectivity to the trail from the resort, increase linkage and help fill the gaps that still remain in the 70-mile-long planned trail.
Who decides the plans for the North Bluff Preserve?
The City of Del Mar, which will incorporate feedback we and the City have received from the community and other stakeholders.
How do you plan to deal with issues surrounding bluff setbacks, rising sea levels and safety?
The stabilization of the bluff and the safety of the public is of utmost importance to us. As a part of our environmental review process, we’ve been studying the bluff with experts, including the California Coastal Commission, for the last year. In addition, we are working with the best teams to ultimately decide what the appropriate set back will be for our buildings.
Our team of experts is currently researching and addressing sea level concerns. Our top priority is to keep people safe. Working with experts and the City –setbacks, drainage plans, fencing, barriers, etc. will be incorporated to balance the safety of visitors while also maintaining the preserve and trails.
With our consulting experts, we have thoroughly evaluated the bluff areas and have designed for drainage away from the bluff front and setting building structures a safe distance back from the bluff top to promote safety and preservation. In our design, we have strived to “activate” the bluff top for public use – walking and viewing, in keeping with California Coastal Commission’s stated goals and preferences for visitor-serving use and enjoyment.
Del Mar & Solana Beach
The perception is that the Del Mar will reap the most economic benefits, will Solana Beach benefit as well?
Since the property is located in Del Mar, the City will receive the tax benefits, e.g. transient occupancy and property taxes. However, it is also important to remember the Solana Beach community will reap many positive economic benefits, such as increased spending from visitors at area shops and restaurants.
Additionally, we are committed to working closely with the City of Solana Beach to minimize any impact from construction and traffic. Extensive environmental studies will take a look at traffic, noise, views and other potential impacts. It is expected that the Del Mar Resort will have a positive impact on surrounding property values as the resort becomes renowned for its unique and lasting legacy along the coastline.
Ultimately, the project benefits all communities in the area, providing access to this beautiful piece of land as well as the resort and the 16 acres of surrounding land – much like the Hotel del Coronado has been the anchor and community hub for that neighborhood. This is the first time the area, including Del Mar, Solana Beach and surrounding communities will have access to this site in over 100 years.
What will your community outreach strategy be in Solana Beach?
Our goal is to win the support of both communities. We have been and are continuing to actively solicit feedback from all community members including residents of Solana Beach. Council members from both Del Mar and Solana Beach recently formed a committee to discuss items of mutual interest to each city – mainly the Del Mar resort. In addition to Zephyr and The Robert Green Company incorporating the feedback of Solana Beach residents and businesses owners, this committee will also ensure Solana Beach’s voice is heard.