On land once worked by the Enos family, crews have been busy, during the last few months, moving and shaping earth to lay the foundation for a new highly-anticipated mixed-use development that could change how visitors and residents interact with the city of Santa Maria.

The Enos Ranchos development at the intersection of Highway 101 and Betteravia Road, which got its official approval last year and got underway soon after, will include a host of new shopping, dining and living options.

The project, when complete, will include restaurants like Chick-Fil-A, Habit Burger and Cracker Barrel.

Soon shoppers will be able to visit a new Costco complete with 24 gas pumps, a new-to-Santa Maria Lowe’s home improvement store, along with car dealers and other retailers.

Eventually, developers will complete a 10-building, 318-unit apartment complex that will lead to the creation of a new city park and an elementary school.

The project’s developer, NKT Commercial, says the venture is on schedule, though recent rains have caused some delays.

“It’s always based around the weather,” said Nick Tompkins, of NKT Commercial.

Though slowed by the recent weather, Costco and Lowe's plan to open as soon as possible.

“Lowe’s and Costco should be receiving their building permits shortly and will begin construction immediately. They are targeting to open spring/summer,” city spokesman Mark van de Kamp said.

Commercial gateway underway

Since the project was announced, developers have been busy securing tenants for the planned commercial district of the Enos Ranchos Development.

Tompkins said he expects to have the entire development fully leased by next week.

The commercial part of the project will be located in different segments.

Two mixed-commercial centers, dubbed Bradley West and Bradley East, will be built along Betteravia Road on either side of the newly aligned Bradley Road.

“We are going to start on the other side of the Bradley extension on the west side, up on Betteravia, in the next few days,” Tompkins said.

Bradley West will encompass 13.3 acres. The shopping center will total 131,500 square feet. It was approved in March of last year. According to city planning records, the building permits for Bradley West and East are currently being reviewed.

Bradley East will feature 157,000 square feet of shopping on 16.7 acres. It will include the new Lowe’s home improvement store and other retailers.

New restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings and others will be located in the Bradley West and East portion of the project.

Next to Bradley East, CoastHills Credit Union will build a new corporate headquarters.

The three-story, $25 million, 90,000-square-feet project, will greet visitors and residents of the city as a key building of the Enos Ranchos development at Highway 101 and Betteravia Road.

“We are really excited. It is a long time coming,” said Jeff York, CoastHills president and CEO. “The location is phenomenal.”

The development happening there will create a new gateway into Santa Maria, he added.

When complete, the building will be called the CoastHills Center.

The new Costco building will be just north of the Bradley East section and be 156,000 square feet and total 18.2 acres.

New living options coming soon

The residential component of the Enos Ranchos development will be on the opposite side of the area from the commercial district.

The planned Easton Plaza Apartments will be near the intersection of Battles Road and College Drive.

That portion of the development will be built by the Santa Barbara-based Towbes Group.

“Easton Plaza Apartments will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment homes with a few studios all within two- and three-story buildings. The community will boast on-site amenities including a community clubhouse, fitness center and yoga room, two pools and spas, two tot lots, a sport court and barbecue picnic areas,” van de Kamp said.

The complex is scheduled to go before the city’s Planning Commission on Wednesday.

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The Towbes Group plans to begin construction this summer in order to open for residents in late 2018.

Once the residential component is complete, the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks officials will start on the planned public park that will become the permanent home of the historic Enos Ranchos farmhouse. The structure will become a historic attraction.

City leaders are finalizing the details of building a permanent foundation for the home that was moved from its original location closer to Highway 101 to its new home by College Drive.

“The park design is complete and, hopefully, the project to place the house will begin in a few weeks," Recreation and Parks Department Director Alex Posada said. "The park itself is funded mostly by fees paid by the residential component of the Enos Ranchos project, which is in the plan review stage now. So, construction on the park itself will not begin until the residential component is completed.”

Posada plans to release the park’s design in the next few weeks.

Local education leaders are currently working on a plan to build a new school near the residential component now, too.

Construction will mean traffic woes

Before construction on the commercial and residential portions of the development could get underway, crews had to realign Bradley Road. Near the project area, the road once ran along the side of Highway 101 and now winds through the project, creating better access and more space to build.

City officials said the road will reopen any day.

Once Bradley Road is opened, work will begin that will close portions of other roads around the project.

“Battles Road will then be closed for a road tie-in at Shepard Drive. Bradley Road and College Drive will remain open while Battles Road is closed,” van de Kamp said.

Once work on Battles is complete, College Drive will be shut down.

“College Drive between Battles Road and Betteravia Road will then be closed for reconstruction and full widening, including curbs and gutters to line up (tie in) with a new interior street, Meehan,” van de Kamp said.

Despite the recent weather, work is progressing on the project and residents soon will see buildings and other features start to sprout from the ground the Enos family once used to grow its crops and products.

Logan B. Anderson covers city government in Santa Maria for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter: @LoganBAnderson.

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City Government Reporter