The big Newport Beach developer Olen Properties is shopping around plans for a 27,000-square-foot retail/restaurant/residential building on El Camino Real across from the Avenida Del Mar intersection.
Olen Senior Vice President Dale Lyon said the ground floor of the new building will have 7,700 square feet of restaurant and retail space. The second and third floors will have 16 1,200-square-foot apartments. The third story will be set back from the Camino Real side, and the building will also have two stories of frontage up the slope on the parallel Avenida de la Estrella, Lyon said.
Olen built hundreds of thousands of square feet of office, warehouse and light industrial space in the business center at Calle Amanecer and Negocio in San Clemente. The company, run by Russian immigrant billionaire Igor Olenicoff, has built developments throughout California and the U.S.
"We're new to downtown, but we're not new to San Clemente," he said.
Plans to build next to the landmark historic City Hall have raised some hackles among history buffs, however.
The San Clemente Historical] Society "is concerned that the longstanding iconic Spanish colonial revival structure at 101 S. El Camino Real could be rendered less historically significant by a proposed relatively massive development next doorr," states a release from the society.
Among the worries is that the building as proposed could dwarf the old City Hall.
"One of the most important historic resources of the founder's era, the 29-foot-tall landmark has always stood a few feet taller than buildings to its left and right, emphasizing its throne-like historical prominence," the release states.
"At 220 feet long and 44 feet or three stories high, the new development could potentially tower over the historic City Hall and other smaller historic buildings across the street," the release continues.
The Historical Society will weigh in when Olen begins to move through the approval process. The project is scheduled for a hearing before the design review subcommittee in February.