The Daily Transcript: “Cornerstone buys land for Otay Mesa townhome project”

Friday, March 31, 2023

By Thor Kamban Biberman

Cornerstone Communities has purchased 44 acres of land in Otay Mesa, where it will build 450 all-electric townhomes for entry-level buyers. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The development, known as Candlelight, is being divided into four villages at Airway Road and Caliente Avenue, just south of State Route 905.

Maya will feature 122 homes, Sapphire will have 106 homes, Indigo will have 95 homes, and Azure will consist of 127 homes. Each village features three-story homes with two-, three-, and four-bedroom floor plans and 21/2 to 3 1/2 bathrooms.

The villages within the project will have a diverse array of architecture, amenities and home sizes.

The homes in Candlelight will range in size from 1,344 square feet to 1,904 square feet, and prices are expected to be in the mid-$500,000s to the low-$600,000s, which Cornerstone notes is typically well below the median price of homes in San Diego.

“What San Diego lacks is workforce housing, and that is what we are providing here,” Cornerstone CEO Ure Kretowicz said.

All neighborhoods are equipped with high-speed, fiber-optic cable, and Cat-6 and RC6 cable outlets
installed in the living room and all bedrooms.

“Two villages have downstairs bedrooms that may be used for home offices,” Kretowicz said.

Floor plans with upper decks feature an adjacent space for a work desk on the second floor. Other
options include space on the first floor for a home office with a closet and bathroom that has its own
outside entrance for added privacy, according to Cornerstone.

The bottom floor of the homes also includes an oversized two-car garage prewired for an electric car
charging station.

“We’re also going to have community-wide Wi-Fi that will serve outdoor workstations,” Kretowicz said.

When asked if the all-electric homes will end up having high utility costs than homes served by natural gas, Kretowicz said the solar panels on the roof should more than compensate. The state has mandated that all new homes are to be powered by electricity, he said.

Other Candlelight amenities will include two pools with a spa and cabana, tot lots, and a dog park.
Meandering walkways will connect with existing hiking trails off-site. Cornerstone set aside more than 40 percent of the property for two environmentally sensitive open space preserves adjacent to the development.

Kretowicz said the project is being financed by Torrey Pines Bank. The design team includes Starck
Architecture and Planning, and the architecture, planning and interiors firm Dahlin. Cornerstone will act as its own general contractor.

“We’re in the midst of finishing our entitlements, and we expect to have our grading permit in September,” Kretowicz said.

If all goes as Kretowicz would hope, the final map will be approved in August, land preparation will begin as early as September, model homes would get under way in the first quarter of 2024, followed by the production homes in the second quarter, and the first homes would be open for sale in the third quarter of 2024.

Kretowicz said he believes the timing for Candlelight will be a good one.

“Mortgage rates should be ratcheting down by then,” he said.

Cornerstone is the developer of the 317-unit Pacific Ridge development in Oceanside, the 80-unit Laurel Heights development in Santee, the 294-unit Preserve in Carlsbad, and the newly sold-out 363-unit Vista Del Sur attached development that is adjacent to the Candlelight site.

Kretowicz said the Vista Del Sur project served as a sort of template for Candlelight.


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