By Collin Breaux
Featured image: A rendering shows how people can gather at the upcoming River Street Marketplace. Graphic: Courtesy of Frontier Real Estate Investments
People driving or walking down Paseo Adelanto toward Los Rios Park may have noticed the construction work going on nearby.
That work is being done to bring River Street Marketplace to life.
The long-awaited, agrarian-themed and pedestrian-themed retail and community center is still in the works at the former Ito Nursery grounds, near the Los Rios Historic District.
Los Rios District resident and San Juan community fixture Harrison Taylor—who is now working as the director of leasing and development for Frontier Real Estate Investments, the company behind the project—recently gave The Capistrano Dispatch a behind-the-scenes tour of the coming site.
Exterior framing is currently up for several of the buildings. Frontier Real Estate Investments is overseen by local developer and resident Dan Almquist.
“The theme of the project is matching the agrarian architecture to the early California style of Los Rios,” Taylor said. “The start of the project will be the entry off of Los Rios (Street). There will be a water tower that is the project signage. It’ll say River Street Marketplace—about a 25-foot-tall tower.”
There will also be orange trees and a plaque and wall depicting local history, near the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society building.
Visitors will encounter various buildings at River Street Marketplace, each housing different business tenants.
“Each building has a different name. The thought process of the theme of the site is you’re entering an old rancher’s property,” Taylor said. “Each building is, thematically, designed and named after each part of the progress of the farmer’s build-out. First, the farmer would have built his house—the farmstead. Then, over time, he would have built the workshop and then the greenhouse and then the hay loft and then the red barn.”
The red barn building at River Street Marketplace will serve as the site’s food hall. There will also be a marketplace. A mercantile-themed building will be geared toward health, wellness and clothing.
Confirmed tenants so far include retailers Seager, Toes on the Noes and Wildfire Mercantile. On the food and beverage side, visitors can expect to see McConnell’s Ice Cream, Capistrano Brewing Co., Kozan Boba Tea House and Ubuntu Café.
Additional tenants will be announced at a future date.
“The central green (that will go up at River Street Marketplace) reminds me of when you’re in Spain or a European country. They have these great plazas where people are enjoying themselves or sitting outside and kids are running around,” Taylor said. “Everyone will park on the south end, and this will all just be pedestrian and really comfortable for people. There’s tons of outdoor seating.”
River Street Marketplace is expected to open in the late summer of 2023.
Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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