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Facelift Planned for Shopping Center

Capistrano Collection has had trouble attracting and keeping tenants. The owners hope a remodel will change all that.

The Capistrano Collection, the shopping center on Ortega Highway next to the , is headed for a facelift.

Although not all the details have been ironed out – the project will go the city’s Design Review Committee for a third look-see – the Planning Commission on Tuesday gave a general nod to the project, which will see a redesign in the façade, the addition of new, leasable space on the first floor and new storefront windows in the existing arches.

“It pains me to see the high-vacancy factor,” said Commissioner Sheldon Cohen. “I’ve seen that center suffer for years and years.”

Keith Ray, one of the center’s owners from Fortus Property Group, acknowledged the center has had problems attracting and keeping tenants, especially because the center offers little in the way of storefront visibility.

“We’d love to remodel the building, improve it, take it to the next level, clean it up,” Ray said, adding that the new look is designed to blend in with the neighboring historic Forster Mansion.

Maryanne Charis, one of two owners of the Forster Mansion, told the Planning Commission that when she first heard of plans for next-door remodel, she hated the idea. But after spending time with Ray and discussing his plans, she now supports the re-do.

“I think the Forster Mansion is one of the jewels of San Juan Capistrano,” Charis said. “We have clients coming from all over the world who spend 1-2 hours with us. I feel confident that what’s been said will happen, and if not, you’ll see me again.”

The commission voted unanimously to send the project to the Design Review Committee one last time, and then have it return to the Planning Commission for a final sign-off.

“I think this is a huge improvement and will do nothing but enhance that retail center,” Commissioner Ginny Kerr said

Matt Gaffney July 25, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Ingress & egress to that plaza is difficult with the amount of traffic on Ortega Hwy. It's no wonder businesses there have a tough time.
Lyda Cooper July 25, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Not only do you not see the center because of all the cars on the Ortega streaming by in a hurry, but the few times I was in there, the parking was horrible. As Mr. Gaffney said above, entering and exiting is almost impossible. It's like most places in this town not near the Mission; no exposure, no customers. A lot of fine restaurants and other businesses have come and gone because no one knew they were there.
ca July 26, 2012 at 04:03 AM
poo yes, let's have more contraction traffic on ortega!
Mark Speros July 26, 2012 at 08:24 PM
And if you think it's bad now...wait until they unleash the "new & improved" Ortega with higher volume and higher speeds. Yeah, I'm going to dive across three lanes, risk getting T-boned so I can go to this center. Not going to happen.

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