Another petal of the former Flower Capital of the World has withered away. The Cordova Nursery wholesale greenhouses, at 720 Balour Drive, in Encinitas, have closed. The property has been sold, and on September 9, the last remnants of the greenhouses were hauled away.
Since 1987, the 1.93-acre farm grew and sold indoor tropical foliage. Co-owner José Cordova said when the business started there was no Home Depot or Target. “You could maybe buy a simple fern in a grocery store, but that was it,” said Cordova. “Now everyone sells orchids, ferns, and palm trees. We didn’t have as much competition back then.”
Fortunately, José’s dad, co-owner Joe Cordova, saw the handwriting on wall with the start of escalating land prices in the 1990s in the North County coastal area. They made enough money to buy the property and, in 1994, opened up Cordova Gardens, a retail nursery around the corner at 902 Encinitas Boulevard. That’s where all of the family’s operations are today.
A walk into the old Balour Drive nursery was like walking onto a different planet. It had its own ecosystem, like a rainforest. Almost every square inch inside was used for hanging pots with growing green foliage.
The oxygen level was extremely high: one could get an oxygen buzz during a brief visit. Chickens used to roam the property.
With rebounding land prices and increasing water restrictions, growers in Encinitas can no longer ignore the multimillion-dollar offers for their property. The former greenhouse’s ocean-view lot, with its current zoning, will allow up to nine single-family homes to be built. The homes will probably cost just under a million dollars.