Anaheim Packing District Developer to Create ‘Area of the Arts’ in San Marcos

Council Approves Initial Agreement to Sell Land Near the 78

The City Council preliminarily approved a purchase and sale agreement with LAB Holdings, LLC for the large triangle property east of Grand Plaza near Highway 78. LAB, which is the innovative developer of unique areas such as the Anaheim Packing District, intends to develop an Area of the Arts where artisans gather to create, collaborate and share their crafts. The concept, which intends to “elevate placemaking” and promote local culture and businesses, includes artisan maker spaces, a large park, entertainment and food venues. While it will take several years to develop the concept, it is a compelling new entertainment and cultural opportunity for San Marcos and North County.

LAB is the developer of the restoration and renovation of the Anaheim Packing District, which  encompasses three historic landmarks and the urban green of Farmers Park. The main ingredient of the district is the Anaheim Packing House, one of the last remaining citrus packing warehouses, which has been historically preserved and retrofitted as one of the great original American food halls. It features 30 unique food and beverage offerings.

The inspiration for LAB’s concept for the Area of the Arts comes from the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival. The Sawdust Festival, which has been held in Laguna Beach since 1967, includes artisan shops along sawdust-covered paths through a hand-crafted village of fine arts. It features art demonstration booths such as glassblowing, complimentary hands-on art workshops, a children’s art booth, a Ceramic Center, as well as refreshments from four outdoor cafes and a saloon and live music.

LAB’s concept for the Area of the Arts in San Marcos includes similar artisan maker spaces along with a large central park, which will be programed with entertainment, a farmers market and other community events. The Area of the Arts will also feature craft food venues and meeting space to host community and businesses events.

The agreement that was approved by the Council is the initial step in LAB’s proposed purchase of the property from the city. Once the sale is finalized, it will take LAB about a year to create its plan. Once the plan is approved by the Council, it will take approximately two years to develop the property. 

While it is very early on the creation of this new venue, the Area of the Arts has the potential to be a really unique gathering place for San Marcos and the North County.