Plaza de Santa Fe owners are shopping for new Rancho Santa Fe market


Plans have been scrapped for new construction at the site of Plaza de Santa Fe, the home of the RSF Post Office and the former Stump’s Village Market. Instead, the property owners are looking to find a new market tenant to lease the 10,000-square-foot space.

“We’ve had a lot of interest expressed in the property,” said Woolley family project consultant Pete Smith. “It is our hope that a new tenant can be in by the summer.”

Over the last eight months, the property owners have worked with the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Covenant Design Review Committee (CDRC), architects and design professionals in an attempt to design a new building that would provide for a market, including a second story space to offset the low rents that markets are able to pay. Plans also included the construction of an underground parking structure.

“Unfortunately, due to design constraints, difficulty of addressing the neighbors’ legitimate concerns and the disruption that would be caused by the construction, a new building is just not feasible at this time,” Smith said.

The plans for a two-story building, parking garage and enhanced gathering spaces was last presented to the CDRC in November and was met with some resistance with neighbors.

In addition to adjacent neighbors’ concerns about building height, the prospect of digging an underground parking lot next to a post office that needed to remain functioning, removing hundreds of truckloads of dirt through the village was a “logistically overwhelming task,” Smith said.

“Economically and logistically, it did not come close to penciling out,” Smith said of the plans.

In an attempt to secure a market for the community and make up for a shortfall in revenue, Smith said the Woolley family made an offer to the RSF Association to share the expense. The Woolleys offered to lease a portion of the space up to the entire 10,000 square feet to the Association at a below-market rate; the Association could then put whomever they wanted in the space and charge whatever rent they would like.

At its December meeting, Smith said the Association’s finance committee decided not to participate in that offer so the Woolley family decided to move forward with the plan to lease the existing building. “The offer to the Association remains on the table until a tenant is found,” Smith said. “In the meantime, the Woolley family is more than willing to work with the Association’s Village Revitilization Committee on a long-range plan.”

The first step in looking for a tenant is clearing out all of Stumps’ old fixtures and that work was being done this week, Smith said. They looked to donate as much as they could to charities but as most of the remaining fixtures were over 35 years old, there wasn’t much of a demand. Smith said some went to charities but the rest of the shelving and refrigeration will be recycled.

“What they’re looking to do, depending on who the tenants are, is to remove the unsightly delivery ramp on the east side of the building and enhance the exterior of the building and update it,” Smith said.

Any added exterior elements will be subject to CDRC review and approval, but Smith said no other entitlements will be needed.