The fate of Carlsbad's strawberry fields may be up in the air as a new developer makes plans for the area.
The leafy green landscape of the Carlsbad Strawberry Co. fields on Cannon Road in Carlsbad has become a north county destination for many.
However, that may change because a Los Angeles-based developer named Caruso Affiliated, which is known for building open-air shopping centers, bought 48 acres in the area and is preparing its plans for the space.
Caruso Affiliated told NBC San Digeo its plans for the area will not be submitted until later this year, but the possibility of a shopping center being paired with the strawberry fields has some locals concerned.
“There are certain things that shouldn’t be touched and I think this is one of them,” said Steve Martinez, an Oceanside resident who visits the fields with his daughters. “I really enjoy my girls coming out here and just having a good day.”
Caruso Affiliated says it wants to preserve the agriculture along Cannon Road. The developer has also been busing in Carlsbad residents and seeking input from the community at meetings and online.
Meanwhile, although fans of the fields may be concerned about a new shopping center in the area, Carlsbad Strawberry Co. said a shopping center could simply move farming to the east and may even benefit the fields with added foot traffic.
“It could be a plus. The shopping center that’s developed here could bring a lot of additional people than currently come here,” said Carlsbad Strawberry Co. General Manager, Peter Mackauf.
Mackauf said that lately the fields have taken a hit due to construction on Cannon Road and could definitely use a boost.
“It’s essential for us to have enough easy access and plenty of parking and we’ve expressed that to the Caruso organization… that’s the key ingredient for us to be able to continue farming here,” Mackauf added.
For now, those worried about change at the fields don't have to worry about it coming anytime soon according to City of Carlsbad officials.
Although Caruso Affiliated has already purchased acres from SDG & E, city officials said that once the developer submits plans, the approval process will take years.