Caruso Affiliated on Thursday said that it has signed an agreement to buy a 48-acre Carlsbad strawberry farm for a potential retail and entertainment center that would be its first project in San Diego County.

The Los Angeles shopping center developer led by billionaire Rick Caruso said that north county parcel is now owned by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and sits directly east of Interstate 5.

The City of Carlsbad’s general development plan has the land designated for tourist/recreation commercial uses. Caruso Affiliated said it would work closely with the city and utility, which has tried to develop the property for several years, to explore options. It also will work with the existing farming operation, Carlsbad Strawberry Co. Inc., to ensure that a nearby lagoon and other adjacent protected open space would not be adversely affected.

“This land is a rare space with overwhelming potential, and we will work to ensure our plans reflect the community’s desires as we create a welcoming gathering place for all of Carlsbad,” Caruso said in a statement.

Financial terms were not announced.

Caruso Affiliated's Los Angeles County projects include the Grove and Americana at Brand shopping centers. It also hopes to start redevelopment of the historic Miramar resort in Santa Barbara County next year.