Development Projects
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Downtown Revitalization - CBD Transition Program
Working closely with the leaders of the Downtown Business Association, the City has implemented a revitalization program for the Downtown area known as the “T-Zone.” The boundaries of the project are El Camino Real, from Palizada to Presidio, and Avenida Del Mar, from El Camino Real to Calle Seville. Thus far the City has assisted in the design and construction of new monument entrance signs at the top of Avenida Del Mar, the fabrication of special brackets and installation of decorative hanging flower baskets, the design and installation of City entrance signs at strategic freeway off ramps and the installation of a special street tree up-lighting system. The City has also provided funding for the hanging of decorative vertical banners on El Camino Real between Avenida Presidio and Avenida Palizada, and replaced older trash receptacles throughout the Downtown area with new decorative receptacles and replaced all of the benches in the bulbouts. The City has also painted all of the decorative street lights and signal standards and has installed new decorative theme-period globes on the street light poles.

Eight years ago the City’s Planning Commission called for the creation of a “Downtown 2000” program that promoted the integration of a comprehensive planning process for not only the Downtown but other important commercial areas as well. This particular request has become a part of the City’s Strategic Planning program and the City Council appointed business and community representatives to the San Clemente Revitalization 2000 Committee. The Committee presented its project recommendations to the City Council and the Council directed staff to work with affected businesses and property owners to design and, over the next three years, construct a variety of hardscape and landscaping improvements on El Camino Real in the T-zone.

In March of 2004, the City awarded a $2.3 million construction contract to L.A. Engineering to install new brick paver sidewalks on El Camino Real and a variety of other improvements including new landscaping, street lights and street furniture. This project was substantially completed before the Thanksgiving holiday. Other future public improvement projects that may be considered include the provision of additional parking resources, a stand-alone public restroom facility in the Downtown area, and the installation of decorative lighting in the Del Mar street trees and additional lighting in City-owned public parking lots. Also, working closely with the DBA and San Clemente Historical Society, the City will assisting in the placement of decorative tiles on the interior walls and floors in the various bulbouts in the Downtown.

EMail about Downtown Revitalization - CBD Transition Program

Los Molinos Public/Private Partnership Program
The City Council has selected property owners and business operators to serve on the Los Molinos Business Advisory Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to assist in guiding the City’s efforts in revitalizing this important industrial/commercial area. Primary emphasis has been placed upon the development of a partnership that encourages private investment in cleaning up and making more attractive the various properties and the City responding with public improvements and other support programs. The Committee was also selected by the City Council to serve as a zoning advisory body to review and make recommendations concerning the City’s proposed West Pico Corridor Specific Plan. Final approval of the Specific Plan was granted by the City Council in April, 1997. Future projects call for the City to undertake the undergrounding of electrical utilities, the rehabilitation or reconstruction of Calle de los Molinos and Calle Valle and the design and installation of a new storm drain system through Bonita Canyon to the M02 Channel. The construction of the first phase improvements (new storm drain system) was commenced in August 1999 and was completed in January 2001. The rest of the improvements have been delayed by San Diego Gas & Electric and completion of the utility undergrounding and street rehabilitation is now tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2009. The total estimated value of these improvements is in excess of $2 million.

Rancho San Clemente Business Park and Talega Business Park
The City’s Rancho San Clemente Business Park, located approximately 2 miles due east of the I-5 Freeway on Avenida Pico, is comprised of 300 gross acres, of which 200 net acres are developable. Currently, the Business Park is approximately 89% built out with 2.6 million square feet of existing Research & Development/Industrial, Multi-tenant space, 5 office buildings and other ancillary uses. Since 1997, a total of 34 additional buildings have been constructed in the Rancho San Clemente Business Park which represents an overall increase of 46% in completed building construction. It is estimated that over 7,500 employees currently work in the Rancho San Clemente Business Park and at full build-out that number will increase to 9,000. Another indication of growing investment interest in the community is the development occurring in the Talega Business Park. During the past two years, 45 buildings have been constructed in the Talega Business Park which represents the addition of over 750,000 square feet. Over the past eight years, all of this development taken together represents an increase of 1.6 million square feet or an overall increase of 93% business park development.

Plaza Pacifica Shopping Center
The joint venture of Pacific Development Group and the Carlyle Group, the original developers, constructed a 450,000 square foot shopping center located approximately 1.7 miles east on Avenida Pico, between Camino Vera Cruz and Avenida La Pata. This development includes two large “power box” retailers, a large combination grocery store and chain drug store, and a variety of in-line retail uses and separate restaurant pads. Wal-Mart officially opened its 115,000 square foot store in September 1999 and the 130,000 square foot Lowe’s Home Improvement Center opened its doors for business in early March of 2001. The final phase of the development was completed in the second quarter of 2002 with a new Albertson’s Grocery Store, Michael’s Art Store and other in-line retail and service businesses. Albertson’s new 58,000 square foot grocery store opened in late March of 2003. Also included in this development is a single-family subdivision by Watt Homes and Richmond America consisting of approximately 160 detached homes, located directly north in the hills above the shopping center. Residential construction started in the second quarter of 1998 and the two development firms completed their final sales in November 1999. Located between the Plaza Pacifica and the existing residential subdivisions is a 67-unit single-family project that was developed by Kaufman & Broad. Plaza Pacifica Shopping Center is now under new private ownership.

Camino Vera Cruz and Avenida Vista Hermosa Extensions
In concert with the Plaza Pacifica shopping center, Pacific Development Group/Carlyle and the Lusk Company constructed the new extension of Camino Vera Cruz, which connects Avenida Vista Hermosa with Avenida Pico. In conjunction with this project, Camino Vera Cruz was realigned by Laing Forster Ranch to join this new extension and now provides a key point of access to the shopping center for our residents living in Forster Ranch. This important first circulation link was opened to traffic in February, 1999, and the Laing’s extension of Camino Vera Cruz from Carretera to Avenida Vista Hermosa was completed in May of 2001. The extension of Avenida Vista Hermosa from Camino Vera Cruz to Avenida La Pata was completed by Talega Associates in November 2003.

Avenida Vista Hermosa Interchange
Started in February 2001, this major freeway interchange located on the I-5 Freeway approximately 7/10’s of a mile north of Avenida Pico completed construction in June 2002. This interchange is absolutely vital to the City’s long term development programs, particularly with respect to the Marblehead Coastal site. The project’s design and construction costs came in at $19 million. The majority of the funding required for construction came from private sector sources; however, thanks to the efforts of former Congressman Ron Packard, the City was successful in obtaining Federal Highway Transportation funds in the amount of $2.25 million which was applied to the construction of the interchange.

Marblehead Coastal Site
The City Council approved plan to develop Marblehead Coastal stalled in 2008 when the housing market collapsed and the nation's economy entered a recession. The SunCal partnership lost its financial backing from Lehman Bros. and the two companies attempted to obtain the property in bankruptcy court. In 2011, a settlement was announced, dividing up SunCal projects in which the two companies were partners. Lehman Bros. got the Marblehead Coastal project. It is unknown when the residential portion of Marblehead Coastal will be developed. The approved plan however calls for 313 homes, 100 acres of parks and trails. The portion of Marblehead Coastal slated for commercial development is owned by Craig Realty Group and the company has plans to begin developing an outlet center, “Plaza San Clemente” by mid 2013 with completion by the end of 2014. The project also includes complementing retail, a multiplex cinema, a mixture of fine restaurants and casual dining, hotel with conference facilities, and neighborhood services.

Casa Romantica
The Casa Romantica is owned by the city and is operated by the Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens. The Cultural Center provides a wide range of cultural opportunities to the community, including cultural gardens, lecture and reading series, and exhibits. Cultural tourism is a major California industry and the successful restoration and operation of this historic structure provides the community with a draw that supports many small businesses including downtown shops, restaurants, and hotels. In addition, many weddings conducted at the Casa provide operating funds for Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, which is self-funded, and an important source of business for local caterers, flower shops, photographers, etc. For more information on Casa Romantica please visit their website.

North Beach Revitalization - Development Program
During the summer of 2006 the City embarked on an exciting and ambitious mission to select a development team to develop residential, retail, restaurant and hospitality uses in the area known as North Beach. The North Beach area is generally defined as that area located on North El Camino Real between Calle Los Molinos and the Metrolink Station, including the Ole Hanson Beach Club. The City believes this area has great potential as a mixed use high quality entertainment and visitor destination center for the community. The City Council has approved an agreement to exclusively negotiate with a firm called the LAB for the development of approximately 55,000 SF of retail, restaurant and limited residential development on property that is owned by the City. During the fiscal year 2005-06, the City Council called upon the business leaders and residents to assist and participate in a “visioning process” for the review and planning of Downtown including this exciting project area. The Miramar Theater (historical landmark) has been recently acquired by a new owner and future development options are currently being analyzed. Sebastian’s Dinner House located directly behind the Miramar Theater was recently purchased by a local businessman who is proposing to physically reorient the former dinner house facility on its existing site and create a new restaurant and build a for-sale residential product behind the restaurant.

As a result of the November 2008 elections, an advisory vote for the LAB project, as presented so far, was approved. Click here for more information on the LAB Project and other North Beach Projects.

Los Mares Theater Complex
Hunter Wilson, a local developer, received planning and building permit approvals to construct a 6 screen theater complex, several restaurants, a major bank branch and in-line retail shops on property located directly across from the Ocean View Plaza shopping center on Camino de Los Mares. Construction was completed in 1998 and the Krikorian Theaters and other ancillary retail and service uses appear to be doing quite well and the project is a most welcome addition to the community.

Ocean View Plaza
M & H Property Management Inc., owners of the Ocean View Plaza in 1999, implemented the demolition of a three-story section of the shopping center and replaced it with a single level 25,000 square foot building pad. Existing tenants including the Automobile Club of Southern California have been relocated to other areas within the center. As part of its overall development program, M & H relocated Sav-On Drug into the newly created single story space and has secured other retailing and restaurant tenants for the remaining new space. This project was successfully completed in the spring of 2000. Most recently this shopping center has been sold to Watt Family Enterprises under the corporate name Centro Watt.

Sears Essentials Plaza
Located on the west side of I-5 Freeway on Camino De Estrella, this shopping center is divided into two different ownerships. The former K-Mart Store, now Sears Essentials, and related parking is corporately controlled by a lease to K-Mart and the balance of the site (excepting the Kragen Auto Parts building), is owned by an investment group, Burnham USA, located in Newport Beach. Currently, Burnham USA has completed a successful adaptive reuse and improvement project including the siting of a new Big Lots store in the former Alpha Beta Grocery facility and the acquisition of other new quality tenants for the center. During the past year K-Mart and Sears merged their corporate interests and the former K-Mart facility has been converted to a Sears Essentials store.

City of San Clemente
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