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City to Sell Historic Homes on Ortega

The city is looking for a Realtor to list the Harrison Farm House and Parra Adobe.

Wanna buy a historic house in san Juan Capistrano? Wanna buy two?

The city Is beginning the process of selling the Harrison Farm House and Parra Adobe, the two historic homes seen by thousands of drivers each day along Ortega Highway east of La Novia Avenue.

The City Council decided 1 ½ years ago to unload the one-third acre property.

Thursday afternoon, the city announced it is looking for a Realtor to represent the city as a seller’s agent.

The property comes with some restrictions.

“The property and both structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the city’s Inventory of Historic & Cultural Landmarks and any site or building improvements, with the exception of maintenance, are required to comply with the ‘Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation’ and the ‘Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings,” the city’s call for Realtors states.

While the Harrison House is in pretty good shape, the Parra Adobe will need some work.

“The Parra Adobe is structurally deficient with the south building wall supported by temporary bracing and requiring significant repair and possibly, seismic retro-fitting,’ according to the city.

For more than 30 years, the city leased the property to the Capistrano Indian Council for $1 a year, but decided to raise the rent to $300 a month when it discovered the group lost its nonprofit status. The group decided it couldn’t afford it, and then the council decided it no longer wanted to own the property.

"I don’t believe the city should be the landlord on all of these properties that we have," ten-Mayor Sam Allevato said in March 2011. "I’d like to see more of them sold off."

For more information about bidding on representing the city, see the city website

Jill McGovern October 20, 2012 at 04:01 PM
As a long time 35 year plus resident of this area these homes are near and dear to my heart, I went to the property a few months ago intrigued and wanted to look and saw the Parra Adobe and the Home and the Parra Adobe is in need of repair. As this property is on the National Register of Historic Places and enjoys special property tax breaks, my own opinion is that the City could fix up this property and use it for meetings and or other events. I hate to see it "unloaded" as I feel with proper management it could be used for a specific purpose. There is a place out the Ortega and I know of several Historic Property Restoration company's that could restore the building to code, but it would cost and the City does have the ability to put this out for bid and find revenue to support it so I guess my question is why dump a Historic Property? I personally would like to open up my Real Estate Office there, I would rent it for $300!
Gratia Hansen October 20, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Jill, I have done Real Estate tranactions with you throughout the years as I was Lori McGuires Operations Manager for years. This Adobe is also dear to my heart as my boys grandparents have lived directly behind the Adobe for 35 years....I think you would flourish in opening a Real Estate office there. I would gladly run your office for you as I have also lived in San Juan for many years.... Take Care, Gratia Hansen
Lon Uso October 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM
It would be very difficult to make this a commercial property as getting in and out of the parking area is somewhat dangerous. The adobe requires hundreds of thousands of dollars to be properly restored and the City no longer has money to take care of it. As distasteful as this decision was for the Council it was the only fiscally responsible one to make. It would be a great opportunity for a private nonprofit to form and take over this wonderful property. I would imagine that the Council would be very cooperative with a group whose number one interest was the restoration and upkeep of the adobe.

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