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La Jolla permit reviewers approve Girard Avenue commercial-residential project facing Torrey Pines Road

A rendering depicts the Girard Avenue Lofts project (the mural is for illustration purposes).
A rendering depicts the Girard Avenue Lofts project (the mural is for illustration purposes).
(Courtesy)

A commercial-residential project on La Jolla’s proverbial front door got the green light at the Development Permit Review Committee’s Sept. 15 meeting after an extensive preliminary meeting the week before.

The committee voted unanimously that findings can be made to support a mixed-use development on Girard Avenue where it meets Torrey Pines Road at the entrance to The Village.

The project calls for a coastal development permit for three connecting two-story buildings at 7606 Girard, currently a vacant lot between Vons and the Tempur-Pedic mattress store. The plans include 1,960 square feet of ground-floor retail, 17 loft-type apartments over parking and one accessory dwelling unit on a pedestrian path at grade level. The apartments would range from 350 to 755 square feet.

Applicant Pauly de Bartolo, founding principal of De Bartolo and Rimanic Design Studio, touted the Girard Avenue Lofts project as a “village within a village” and “easily walkable to the heart of La Jolla.” He also spoke to a larger pedestrian improvement opportunity in La Jolla.

“I think this could be valuable on a Village-wide effort … [to look at] what are the important nodes of The Village and use intersections that are vehicle-driven and give them some sort of creative layer that could enhance the pedestrian experience,” he said.

De Bartolo added that the intersection that fronts the property is “really the most trafficked intersection in The Village, and you have vehicles coming down Torrey Pines Road and quite quickly on Girard, so the challenge to me is that the intersection is prioritized to vehicles at the moment … but we have an awful lot of pedestrian activity. We have a lot of retail frontage that happens on either side of Girard. … I see a lot of people walking down and crossing to the grocery store. There are a lot of people being served here that use that intersection.”

A rendering shows the proposed Girard Avenue Lofts project from Girard Avenue.
(Courtesy)

Design elements were included that keep the space “open and inviting” to pedestrians, and existing palm trees and vegetation would remain, he said.

“It was an intentional design decision not to angle our building out to maximize the frontage, but to trim it back intentionally to create a wider throat, if you will. From a planning standpoint, we thought about the accessibility,” De Bartolo said.

From an aesthetic standpoint, he said there would be layering of materials “to create interest” and open up the two stories, such as breeze blocks (patterned concrete blocks), midcentury-style lines, wood fencing and planter boxes between the units to give the impression of a “community building space.”

Addressing a comment from the week before about a proposed dark gray brick tone, he said the project’s coloring reflects “the palate of The Village as a whole … the one variance we are suggesting is a darker brick material as a highlight. … We were intentional with our design to layer the building with several materials.”

After minimal committee deliberation, a motion passed to support the project as presented, save for a mural in a rendering.

Other DPR news

Two developments proposed by architect Tim Golba will return to DPR for a vote next month.

The first, in The Village, calls for coastal development and site development permits to demolish a residence at 7214-7216 Fay Ave. and build two single-family homes with detached garages totaling 5,254 square feet.

The second, in the Windansea area, calls for coastal development and site development permits to demolish two residences at 242-248 Playa del Norte. The project proposes for each lot a two-story, 2,615-square-foot residence over basement and a detached 372-square-foot, one-bedroom companion unit.

The La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee next meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, online. Learn more at lajollacpa.org.