Written by Sebastian Acosta
The Escondido City Council approved the 510-unit Palomar Heights development project that will replace the former Palomar Hospital campus with a mix of housing types and commercial uses.
The decision was 3-2. With the three Republicans on the board voting in favor of the development, and the Democrats voting no.
Supporters of the project included the local business community, whose members believe that it will enliven the downtown corridor and introduce new local business opportunities.
“As we collectively look towards the future and continue to envision an even better Escondido, Palomar Heights helps us get closer to that goal,” one person said.
Palomar Heights will include 258 for-rent apartments, 90 senior apartments, and 162 row homes and villas. An additional 10,000 square feet will be used as commercial space.
Gil Miltenberger, VP of acquisitions at Integral Communities, said that two studies commissioned by the company found that Palomar Heights would generate annual surpluses in revenues.
Councilmember Mike Morasco was strongly in favor of the project, saying he considers it a “smart growth” investment because of its location at the center of town.
“I think at this time it is what we need in the city of Escondido, as far as bringing families to downtown,” Morasco said.
Councilwoman Tina Inscoe was eager to vote yes on the project, saying that delaying it could harm downtown businesses. “I just worry about their ability to hang on,” she said.