For over a year, rumors have flown around Encinitas that an In-N-Out Burger would move onto a site formerly occupied by Burger King and a 76 gas station on Santa Fe Drive. The end of the town’s Double-Double dream occurred last week: A sign has been posted on the fenced-in site notifying the community that the Harwood Group will be building a two-story medical center.
The site is across the street from Scripps Memorial Hospital. In-N-Out officials were aware of the property but would not confirm any past interest in the old building or how the rumor may have started.
“We want to be in Encinitas, but finding the right property is pretty challenging,” said In-N-Out vice president of development Carl Van Fleet. “We need a minimum of 45,000 square feet, and we select our locations very carefully.”
Doug Harwood, the project’s developer, said he’d love to co-partner with In-N-Out. “The cardiologists on the second floor would love it, but it would be hard to rent to dieticians.”
Also of community interest is the future of the antiquated, rusted-out, 1960s-style freeway sign -- a 40-foot-high monument to the former 76 station’s orange ball logo (now covered up.) To the satisfaction of community leaders, the sign will be coming down.