After a recent reshuffling of ownership, the new officials spearheading the stalled Miramar Event Center project in North Beach are looking to resume construction soon, according to city officials.
Economic Development Director Jonathan Lightfoot told San Clemente Times on Thursday, Aug. 10, that the city last week received resubmitted plans for the project, which will turn the historic Miramar Theatre and bowling alley into an event center and food hall, respectively.
Staff had previously approved permits for both structures, but the project’s previous contractor reportedly never paid the permit fee that would have allowed construction to proceed, according to Lightfoot.
While Lightfoot noted he hasn’t had a chance to formally review the resubmitted plans as of Friday afternoon, Aug. 11, he explained that officials don’t expect to see any major changes to the proposal.
“We will be reviewing these right away—to make sure that they are both consistent with the approved entitlements/designs and also with the current version of the Building Code (which has been updated since their prior submittal),” Lightfoot wrote in an email to SC Times. “We are anxious to get this site back into an active construction zone.”
Lightfoot added that the property’s ownership has consolidated recently, and the team completed a refinancing of their construction loan near the end of June.
Miramar Food Hall Real Estate LLC has contracted with Mark Williams of MWC Commercial General Contractors to oversee the project management, including working with the architect on the resubmittal of updated project plans, hiring an engineering firm to provide a structural analysis of the existing construction, and manage crews that will resume work on the property.
The contractor Mark Williams did not return SC Times’ requests for comment as of this posting.
The last public meeting that concerned the Miramar Event Center occurred in mid-February, when the Design Review Subcommittee reviewed a previous request to amend aspects of the project’s design.
Steve Waldron, an architect with Architects Local and the ownership’s representative, detailed the request to expand the pergola shade structure by 272 square feet, modify the shade portion to a solid roof to accommodate weddings, and to host wedding ceremonies in the food hall courtyard, among other appeals.
The DRSC expressed concerns that such changes would contribute to a loud intersection at Avenida Pico and El Camino Real, that other roof vents at the same height would emit odors, and that an additional courtyard use would disrupt food hall patrons’ experiences.
“The Subcommittee concluded that the project as drafted does not maintain the ethos of the 2017 entitlements and that the proposed modifications would lessen the quality of the approved project,” according to the meeting minutes.
Lightfoot said the project’s ownership agreed not to pursue the pergola expansion.
In 2017, the Planning Commission approved several permits for the landmark properties to be converted into the event center and food hall. In December 2019, the property was sold for $7.9 million to the Phoenix-based real estate company Fortuitous Partners, setting the project’s construction in motion.
Back in April 2022, the property was reportedly sold to a group closely linked to the project’s operator, Landmark Food Halls.