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Ocean Kamp Development Planned for Former Drive-In Site

Article Via Ray Huard | SDBJ

Plans are moving forward for a new development on the site of a former Oceanside drive-in theater and swap meet, although details on the project are still being worked out.

Originally planned by Zephyr Partners based in Encinitas, the project has been taken over by N4FL Wordlwide based in Rancho Santa Fe.

Covering 92.3 acres of what was once the Valley Drive-In Theater and swap meet, Ocean Kamp has taken the place of what was originally planned as large shopping center to be called The Pavilion.

Those plans were abandoned when online shopping exploded and brick and mortar retailers had trouble competing.

Replacing it is a development that would be a mix of residential, commercial and a theme park built around an artificial wave surfing lagoon, estimated to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million, according to Michael Grehl, vice president of real estate for N4FL Worldwide.

Needed housing

Grehl declined to estimate the overall cost of Ocean Kamp.

Grading of the site started more than two years ago.

“We’re hoping to receive full project approval this winter,” Grehl said. “Assuming that all goes well, we’ll start construction soon thereafter. The hope is that we’ll be opening up portions of the project by spring 2024.”

As outlined in the draft environmental impact statement, the project would include a resort hotel of up to 300 rooms, and up to 700 homes in a mix of apartments, condominium units, townhomes and senior housing.

Bordered roughly by North Foussat Road, State Road 76 and the San Luis Rey Bike Path, the project also would include 134,000 square feet of commercial space in a mix of offices, medical offices, retail and restaurants.

The project would set aside 20 acres as open space and habitat protection, including a four-acre stepping-stone wildlife corridor located along the eastern property boundary.

The residential sections would be on the northeast and eastern portion of the site and include a pool, clubhouse, outdoor seating, dining areas and tot lots.

“It’s really providing the much needed housing, the employment to North County along with a tourism and hospitality destination,” Grehl. “We’re pretty excited to deliver some much needed housing to the San Diego County market. There’s also an incredible opportunity to capitalize on the growing office market in San Diego.”

Regional attraction

Grehl said that the wave pool is meant to be a centerpiece of the development that could rival other regional tourist destinations.

“We believe it creates an attraction on a par with the other major attractions of San Diego County, much like SeaWorld, the zoo, and the Animal Park,” Grehl said. “Some components of the commercial and some components of the residential will be opening up on the on the first days. The wave is going to be one of the lead items to open up. It’s very important for the balance of the project.”

Covering 4.5 acres of the site, the wave pool is designed for first time beginners to professional surfers “and everything in between” with waves up to eight feet high, Grehl said.

Similar wave pools have been highly successful in places like Waco, Texas, Grehl said, and there’s every reason it will be a big draw in Oceanside, “a hub of the surfing industry.”

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