SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.
By Wayne Eggleston
North Beach is going through a Renaissance. San Clemente has the world-class beach trail, the restored and successful Casino San Clemente, Ellie’s Table, the opening of the delicious Shwack Cantina, La Colombiana restaurant, Los Molinos Art District, a restored Ole Hanson’s Beach Club, over 300 homes valued at $1 million-plus on Marblehead, and, of course, the Outlets at San Clemente.
What is missing? The restored and revitalized Miramar Theatre!
Over the years we have seen three-plus story plans on top of the bowling alley with timeshares, hotels and condos with underground parking garages. None of these plans have made their way to the Planning Department or through the process. In fact, there has never been an application. The current owners realized that a larger and more intense development would be problematic and are now planning a less intensive plan, which is a huge win for the city and North Beach.
Over the past three months, a group of people and I have been working with the owners of the Miramar to present plans. Although I am a volunteer without compensation of any type, I will be recusing myself as a Planning Commissioner when it comes before that body. I have been very passionate, and it is part of my DNA to see this historic building revitalized and reused. After I left City Council after 12 years in 2010, a revitalized Miramar was a goal, but the owners were not ready to move forward. Now, they are motivated.
So what are the plans?
The Miramar will be a performing arts and event center, and the rebuilt Bowling Alley will be a number of culinary specialty restaurants with a courtyard similar to Cedar Creek’s courtyard. Preliminary plans will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 2 during oral communications. The plan is to submit a formal application in August or September.
In 2009, the City Council approved the Casino project, which consisted of the approval of a historic property parking waiver incentive agreement to ensure preservation of the Casino in return for parking waivers. Without parking waivers and committed owners and the city, the Casino would not have been restored and reused as a successful historic building or business. San Clemente can now be very proud of this accomplishment, and congratulations to the owners.
The Miramar owners are now requesting the same process as the Casino. This is the start of a process which requires a CEQA analysis, Planning Commission, City Council and California Coastal Commission approvals. This will not be an easy task or process and it will take committed owners and a committed city to make this work. Plans will most likely change as we go through the process. As with any project, everyone needs to be flexible and committed. But this is finally a start and an exciting one.
To hear more about these plans, attend the San Clemente Times weekly Friday meeting at 8 a.m. at Café Calypso, 114 Avenida Del Mar, or the City Council meeting during oral comments on Aug. 2 at City Hall, 100 Avenida Presidio.
Wayne Eggleston was on City Council from 1998 to 2010. He was involved in the creation of Casa Romantica Cultural Center and The Marine Monument at Park Semper Fi.