Builder Defends Project from Historical Group

The project manager for Olen Properties' planned Camino Real building says complaints from the San Clemente Historical Society are based on emotion.

A project manager from said he has worked with the city and the San Clemente Historical Society to address concerns about a big planned project next to the historic City Hall on El Camino Real, known as the Easley Building.

Soong Kim, project manager for a, said he's upset about recent criticism in the media from the San Clemente Historical Society.

"We started out designing with a lot of respect for the [city hall] building," Kim said. "Our architect for the project is WHA and a consulting architect reccommended by the city--you probably have heard of him; Henry Lenny from Santa Barabara is kind of the Spanish colonial guru.

The historical society sent out press releases and President Georgette Korsen commented on the recent article about the project on Patch.

"The developers latest renderings for this project use perspective, angles and incomplete images to create the illusion that it is considerably smaller than it is," Korsen wrote.

"When residents make up their mind, I'm hoping they insist on viewing a straight on shot, showing all buildings adjacent, so that the enormity of this project is not obscurred and they will fully understand what it is we will be getting."

Kim denied that any of the renderings--many of which were prepared in response to the historical society's concerns--were misleading.

"I'm a little offended as a project manager when I go to your blog and see Georgette Korsen saying the renderings are misleading," he said. "[The renderings are] not not an illusion. These are scientific architectural tools. I realize everyone has different opinions, but I feel like we're dealing with emotions now. Our project meets all the zoning requirements."

Kim cited changes that have made the building less massive, both in appearance and in actuality.

The third story is set back from the street farther than the first two, cutting into the residential square footage, but creating a stepped back effect that keeps the front face of the building from looming over the old city hall.

Kim also said a 30-by-32-foot courtyard fronting El Camino Real directly adjacent to the Easley building would expose more of the city hall's frontage to Camino Real than is visible now.

This courtyard and another, larger street-facing courtyard will break up the frontage of the building, also making it appear less massive and cutting into the indoor-square footage of the commercial space, Kim said.

The design review subcomittee of the San Clemente Planning Commission will review the project at a meeting in mid February.


Tom Barnes January 31, 2012 at 04:00 PM
All the developer has to do is provide a scaled 3-D model which is the one "scientific architectural" tool that would help everyone to see just how big the building would be. This developer has not learned from the LAB's experience at North Beach when their refusal to provide a model contributed to the failure of that large project. If its impact is as small as the developer says then that impact will be reflected in the model.
Lindsey Hanson January 31, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Tom I think this project would really help beautify downtown. I sure hope it's not behemoth. Some of the renderings have me concerned. I think a scale model would be nice. This project has the potential to be really nice as. This project also has the potential to be VERY DIFFERENT from the LAB disaster. 1. The location is much more appropriate. 2. It truly would be replacing blight. Whereas the LAB crew wanted us to believe a park and the Pacific ocean beach front was blight. This is an old building built in a style not congruent with the current plan that is privately owned and like the Miramar has been left to ruin. 3. The project will be full funded by the developer. I think it is important that we have a due process for development in our town. I think SC is very special. We as a community do our town great justice making sure only appropriate design backed by proper funding make it through the system. By holding true to some pretty stringent guidelines our city has the potential to continue being the gem of Southern California as the surrounding areas being to age and lose appeal. Like a fine wine SC can age gracefully. BUT it is also important we do not bully and unnecessarily hinder any and all potential investors to our cause. I look forward to learning more about this project. It would be wonderful to see that area renovated. I hope this developer can meet our expectations and deliver. We will see.
Lindsey Hanson January 31, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Please just tell me this is not the same guy who built the monster in North SC by Dewey’s. Glad you're on it Tom. I know you want what is best for SC.
Tom Barnes January 31, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Lindsey, I see your point that this is different from the LAB but I do not understand why developers refuse to provide a scale model for projects. As we have seen in the past photos can be manipulated but that is much more difficult to do with a model. Before I say "yea or nay" I want to study this project and one of the tools that I need to do this study is a model. Just throwing out the name Henry Lenny does not guarantee that a project is a good one. I don't know if it is the same developer who built the "white elephant" near Dewey's. Olen Properties might want to meet with some of us who have concerns—not just the Historical Society—to explain what they have planned and the reasons why they have not provided a model.
Lindsey Hanson January 31, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Totally with you on that Tom. I want to see a scale model. I understand they are costly but they are also common and nothing unusual to the process.
Lindsey Hanson January 31, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Mary Ann, are you ready for the real kicker???? That beast on the North end was over built. The height of on the roof line had to be take down and redone to lessen the height by inches. Who is running this show? I understand why these builders try to cram pack as much space as possible, that's revenue. That's leasable space, but it doesn't make it right. And again you can't wrap a turd in the mask of "Spanish architecture" in hopes that we will not find it's flaws or over look it's monstrous size. Lets see if these guys (the developers) can find a solution and make that corner lovely. The most important thing is to stay aware of the project, because we know full well there are slow pokes at the helm.
Soong H. Kim February 01, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Dear Lindsey & Tom, we'd be happy to meet with you and present our projet. There's a vacant suite in the existing building on site which would be a good place to meet. How can we reach you to schedule a meeting?
Mr Salty February 01, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Soong, I suspect Tom and Lindsey are not the only ones very eager to check out your project. Especially if you happen to have a scale model. Kamsamnida.
Tom Barnes February 01, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Hi Soong, We would like to take a look at what you have. Send us your contact number at northbeachgreenalternative@cox.net Tom & Vonne Barnes
Lindsey Hanson February 01, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Soong I would love that, especially if you have a scale model. How can I reach you?
Soong H. Kim February 02, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Would you give me a call at 949.719.7222? Thank you.
Soong H. Kim February 13, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Dear Mr. Salty, would you please give me a call at 949-719-7222 to schedule a meeting so we can present the project to you and others who are interested? Kamsamnida~
Soong H. Kim February 13, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Hi, Lindsey. I'm trying to coordinate a meeting so all interested can attend. I left my phone number on the post, but I guess it didn't get to you? If you'd please contact me at 949-719-7222 and advie your availabilities, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
Mr Salty February 13, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Very sorry we are having a major family crisis right now. Please arrange a neighborhood meeting with Tom's North Beach Green Alternative group or perhaps set up a model of your project somewhere in town....
Steve Lee December 12, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Soong: Do you have a email address that we can contact you at?
Mark Zonarich December 12, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Steve, My name is Mark Zonarich and I am the new project manager for this project. Please email me any time. My email is mzonarich@olenproperties.com. Thank you.


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