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Chula Vista’s EastLake Traces Roots to Irvine

Times Staff Writer

The developers of the new master-planned community of EastLake in the extreme eastern end of this San Diego County city are anything but displeased when features of their 3,063-acre development are compared to the Woodbridge community in Irvine.

Both EastLake--the first phase of which is opening today--and the nearly 10-year-old Woodbridge feature artificial lakes and a wide variety of housing types, from small but affordable condominiums to pricey move-up houses.

The resemblance probably can be traced to the Irvine Co. connection: David B. Kuhn Jr., a partner of EastLake Development, formerly was with the Irvine Co., as was EastLake senior vice president Robert L. Santos. In fact, Santos was a project manager for the 1,700-acre Woodbridge development when he was at the Irvine Co.

“We’re obviously not reinventing the wheel in our master plan for EastLake,” Santos said. “We’ve learned what to do and what not to from our experience at Irvine and from looking at features in other master-planned communities, and we hope it will show at EastLake.”

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Swimming Lagoon

The first phase of EastLake, on East H Street east of Interstate 805, south of Bonita and west of Otay Lake, includes the 15-acre lake and and a 15,000-square-foot fresh-water swimming lagoon in a 21-acre recreational complex.

When completed in about six years, the initial phase will have 3,683 dwelling units on 621 acres, a 34-acre Village Center for office and retail uses and a 140-acre business/industrial center, reportedly the first master-planned high-tech center in the South Bay region of San Diego County.

Santos said that when it is completed in about 20 years, EastLake will have a population of about 30,000 in 11,370 dwelling units, 254 acres of industrial land and 104 acres of commercial/office uses.

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Housing in the first-phase neighborhoods of EastLake Hills and EastLake Shores will be produced by eight builders and will range in price from $49,900 to more than $300,000, Santos added. Builders in the initial phase are Brehm Communities, Pacific Scene, the Fieldstone Co., Lane/Kuhn Pacific, Century American Corp., McKellar Homes and Barrett San Diego.

Scaling Down Commuting

Custom home lots at The Estates at EastLake Hills, priced from $65,000 to $145,000, will be marketed by EastLake Realty Co. They range in size from 13,000 to 30,000 square feet and many offer views of downtown San Diego to the west.

EastLake wouldn’t be a state-of-the-art community if it failed to offer housing, recreation and employment opportunities without major commuting, according to Kent Aden, project manager in charge of the first phase.

Obviously, a major planning effort was involved, handled by Gary Cinti of Cinti & Associates, Irvine, with landscape architecture by Gillespie/DeLorenzo and ONA Inc. of San Diego and the Peridian Group of Irvine.

An off-road community trail system for pedestrians and bicycles will link all parks, major recreation facilities and major open space areas, as well as the business center and the commercial center, Aden said.

Neighborhood Recreation

“The system will provide a framework to bring together the various neighborhoods, each of which will have a distinct character and focal point in the form of a neighborhood recreation center,” he added. “In the initial phase, the focal point is obviously the 21-acre lake complex at EastLake Shores.”

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The lake will be used for sailboats, paddle boats and canoes owned by the recreation association and for resident-owned boats within a limited size range, not including power boats for water skiing. The lake will also be stocked with fish.

The EastLake Development Co., master developer of EastLake, is a partnership of Daniel D. (Ron) Lane, David B. Kuhn Jr. and the J.G. Boswell Co. The Los Angeles-based Boswell agribusiness firm has extensive real estate holdings and operations in the Southwestern United States and in Australia. Among its community developments is Sun City, near Phoenix, completed in conjunction with the Del E. Webb Co.

South County Market

Master-planned communities are common in the North County area of San Diego County, but are virtually unheard of in the South County area, according to Kenneth W. Agid, marketing consultant and adviser to EastLake Development.

Typically, the South County housing market has been concentrated in small, in-fill developments, he said, in contrast to the large number of master-planned communities to the north.

“The market in the south is characterized by expanding interest from young singles and couples and continued expansion of the retirement sector,” he said. “Sales have not been limited by the lack of buyers but more so by product voids.”

While the North County will continue to experience a greater share of San Diego County’s average yearly population gains, that share is diminishing, Agid said. South County--generally defined as that area south of Interstate 8--will realize an estimated 20,000 to 23,000 of the total population gain through 1990, he said.

Household Formation Growth

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“In terms of the more meaningful factor of household formation growth, South County will account for 10,710 units of the 25,000 total new homes demanded each year through 1990,” Agid added.

In Chula Vista, with a current population of just over 90,000, home buyer demand will be about 3,540 units of for-sale housing each year, with the greatest concentration in the $80,000 to $150,000 price range, Agid said.

Agid could also claim an Irvine Co. connection: He originated several marketing and merchandising programs for the firm, including those for Woodbridge.

Chula Vista Mayor Greg Cox is an enthusiastic supporter of EastLake, believing that it “adds an element of prestige to the community and will be a standard for development in Chula Vista for years to come.”

Councilwoman Gail McCandliss added that it is important that EastLake be planned as an integral part of Chula Vista, not as a totally separate entity. She believes that the seven-year planning process has accomplished this goal.

The San Diego County non-residential market is even more skewed toward the North County, but Jeff Phair, vice president of EastLake Development and the executive in charge of EastLake Business Center, believes that his project will benefit because it offers a product in short supply elsewhere in the county.

Choice of Lots

“Due to the current shortage of large single-user industrial sites throughout the county, we have an advantage over most other industrial parks,” he said. “We can offer lots of one to eight acres and a single user needing up to 50 net acres also can be accommodated.”

Phair said that lot prices in the first phase will range from $7.25 to $8.50 per square foot, comparable with North County land and “substantially below the prices of comparable land in Sorrento Valley and Kearny Mesa.”

The center will have 140 acres, 300,000 square feet of retail/commercial space and 11 acres for three mid-rise office building sites in the EastLake Village Center.

Jogging Trail

Recreation will be an integral part of the EastLake Business Center in the form of a 9.1-acre park with a jogging and exercise trail, basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball areas and picnic grounds. The park will also feature a recreational building with lockers and showers.

All this should help attract high-tech and research and development tenants, Phair said.

“High technology companies in particular look at the total work environment and the role it plays in attracting and keeping efficient, productive and satisfied employees,” he said.


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