By Shawn Raymundo
Ganahl Lumber Company’s plans to relocate its Dana Point location to San Juan Capistrano could inch closer to fruition next month, when the city is looking to have a sale agreement for the store operator to purchase 15 acres of property off Stonehill Drive presented to the city council for approval.
For the past two years, the city and Ganahl have been in the negotiating stage of the potential sale over Lower Rosan Ranch, the site where the hardware store company proposes to construct a Ganahl facility that includes a restaurant and car storage area.
City Manager Ben Siegel said the city staff is working to have the Purchase and Sale Agreement on the city council’s agenda for mid-September. Siegel, who attended San Juan’s weekly Coffee Chat forum at Hennessy’s Tavern to answer questions on a variety of topics on Friday, Aug. 23, also noted that Ganahl is targeting to break ground in 2020.
That agreement, Siegel explained in an email to The Capistrano Dispatch, “will outline key deal terms as well as the purchase price.”
In the fall of 2016, the city called for bids on the property, and by January 2017 began reviewing more than a dozen bids. A couple months later, the council conducted a community workshop to gather feedback on five of the development proposals.
The council, in April 2017, voted unanimously in closed session to begin negotiating with Ganahl for the sale of the land and later that fall the council also approved an exclusive negotiation agreement.
The negotiations phase has lasted for more than two years, Siegel said, because “Lower Rosan is a complicated property located in the floodplain, and staff has been working with Ganahl to address site constraints involving access, easements, grading and soil conditions.”
The city is required by state law to sell Lower Rosan because of the dissolution of redevelopment agencies in 2012. About 10 percent of the net proceeds from the potential sale of the site will go into the city’s coffers, while the remaining profits are to be divvied up between the state, the County of Orange, school districts and other special districts.
As of press time, the city was unclear as to whether the Capistrano Unified School District would be one of the beneficiaries of the sale.
Ganahl’s proposed space for shoppers to dine, Siegel said, would be leased out to a restaurant operator. And space in the car storage area would similarly be leased to the nearby auto dealerships that are currently utilizing the empty Lower Rosan site to store vehicles.
“The auto dealers would lease space for surface parking from Ganahl,” Siegel wrote in the email. “The City is working to facilitate the arrangement between the parties.”
According to Siegel, an Environmental Impact Report for the project is currently being prepared, as the city’s Design Review Committee and Planning Commission will need to approve the proposed plans.
Based on projections from Ganahl representatives, the facility is expected to provide the city with approximately $480,000 in sales-tax revenue and 88 new jobs, The Dispatch has previously reported.
The family-owned lumber company currently has 10 facilities in Southern California, including its Dana Point store on Doheny Park Road. The location, which has been in the Capistrano Beach community since 1995, will eventually close, transferring operations to San Juan.
Representatives from Ganahl Lumber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow The Dispatch @CapoDispatch.