The future of Carlsbad strawberry fields is cloudy

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Victoria Smith

The Strawberry field is a long time place in Carlsbad that is being renovated to become a mall.

Gillian Allen , Writer

Los Angeles-based developer, Caruso Affiliated, known for building open-air shopping centers, bought 48 acres of the Carlsbad Strawberry Fields land and is preparing plans for construction. Rick Caruso, CEO and founder of Caruso Affiliated, is planning on constructing a high-end shopping center similar to The Grove in Los Angeles.

“The company sent pamphlets to my house that explained the ‘environmental benefits’ of the project but I do not believe that this project  will be good for the environment,” said senior Natalie North-Cole. “You kind of have to think about the actual effects of it as opposed to giving into the propaganda that the project is a good thing for the environment.”

Caruso Affiliated is planning to build a shopping center alongside the strawberry fields, leaving space open for people to enjoy nature. The plans propose open space, trails, picnic spots and areas for people to enjoy nature. However, Carlsbad residents are unsure of just how much space will be left undeveloped.

“The developer is sending around misleading literature about the plans because people think it will be a mall and a nature preserve, when really it will be a mall and a few small trails,” environmental science teacher Mr. Muilenburg said. “If the strawberry fields aren’t going to be the strawberry fields I would rather see them become just open space or a preserve, and I think a lot of other people would too.”

In addition, Carlsbad citizens are concerned with the construction plans because the site is adjacent to the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, which means the habitat is rich with many different types of unique species.

“Since it’s right next to the lagoon it’s a really sensitive habitat,” Muilenburg said. “It would be great to see it all as a preserve.”

Caruso Affiliated’s plans to include new trails and picnic areas will invite more human activity.

“I think that a mall complex will generate more revenue but at the expense of one of Carlsbad’s really unique aspects,” North-Cole said. “While there are economic benefits to constructing this high-end shopping center, I don’t think that the motives are concerned with the true environmental consequences that will take place.”