Coast Income Properties officially broke ground Wednesday for a retail and housing development that promises to create a town center for the Pacific Highlands Ranch community.

The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch will include 160,000 square feet of retail space and 331 residences on the northeast corner of Del Mar Heights Road and Carmel Valley Road near Canyon Crest Academy.

A pedestrian-friendly square is intended to be a gathering spot for the community. Stores will include a Trader Joe’s, a pharmacy and a a variety of restaurants. A city library is also planned.

“This truly is the heart of Pacific Highlands Ranch,” said Tom Blake, founder and president of Coast Income Properties. He said the first phase of the project would be completed in early 2015.

San Diego City Council member and President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner said she looked forward to the opening of Trader Joe’s in particular and predicted the development will be the “envy of all San Diego project neighborhoods.

“The neighborhood has been waiting for the village center for years,” she told the crowd gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking.

The development will serve Pacific Highlands Ranch and surrounding areas of Del Mar, Santaluz, Carmel Valley, Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.