ENCINITAS — Nearly three years after early morning flames consumed several local businesses, construction crews broke ground this week for a new commercial space on a Leucadia plot once home to Mozy Cafe, Shatto & Sons Custom T-Shirts, Cali Life art gallery and Peace Pies.
The locally-owned businesses, once nestled in an iconic building near the corner of Daphne Street and North Coast Highway 101, were devastated by a two-alarm fire that broke out shortly after midnight on Sept. 30, 2019.
Roughly a year after the blaze, Jim Shatto, founder of Shatto & Sons, got busy developing plans for a reconstruction project, working with fellow Leucadia resident and architect Warren Scott to build a single-story commercial space in the footprint of his former shop.
“I think Leucadia will be proud of our building,” Shatto told The Coast News. “The building will be a nice, single-story building with high ceilings — not your typical two-story complex with condos on top.”
The Shatto building will be home to four businesses, just like the former space, including Peace Pies, which will return to operate in a restaurant space with an outdoor patio on the backside of the building.
And while Shatto is actively looking for new tenants — Vista’s Helia Brewing is interested in opening a tasting room at the new site — the custom t-shirt business he started in 1975 (originally called “Deluxe Airbrush”) may not be one of them.
Shatto’s son, Ryan, took over the family business in 2008. Since the fire, Ryan has primarily managed the t-shirt company’s online business.
“I’m not sure if Shatto & Sons will go back in there,” Shatto said. “We are debating right now. I still want to do it. But we have many offers from people who want to go there.”
The planned completion date for the Shatto building is at least eight months, but getting shovel-ready wasn’t a cakewalk for the longtime Leucadia business owner.
According to Shatto, the city’s permit process for the new space took nearly 18 months, and the cost of building materials has tripled since COVID-19.
So, how does it feel to have a new building finally in the works?
“It feels expensive,” Shatto said. “But I decided this would be the time to do it. It feels good to have it happen finally.”