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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux
Capping a project years in the making, the San Juan Capistrano City Council approved a purchase and sale agreement between the city and Ganahl Lumber Company for property along Stonehill Drive expected to house a hardware store and lumber yard, drive-thru restaurants, and a long-term vehicle storage area for auto dealers.
The agreement was approved at the council’s Dec. 7 meeting. The council previously approved a resolution declaring the city’s intent to sell the vacant 17-acre, city-owned Lower Rosan Ranch property in June, and city officials have been negotiating final details with other agencies involved in the transaction—including the County of Orange and school districts—since then. The property is west of Camino Capistrano.
“This is a major milestone in this effort,” City Manager Ben Siegel said.
Escrow is estimated to close within 30 to 60 days. Senior Management Analyst Matisse Reischl has worked with Assistant City Manager Charlie View on the project and gave a staff presentation on the project to the council.
“The project and property sale are envisioned to create jobs within the community, alleviate conditions of economic and physical blight, and create an increase in sales and property-tax revenue—all of which benefit the city of San Juan Capistrano,” Reischl said.
When fully operational, the hardware store and lumber yard is projected to generate approximately $450,000 to $500,000 in annual sales-tax revenue, “placing it among the top sales-tax generating businesses in San Juan Capistrano,” Reischl said.
The agreement will also remove maintenance costs for the city. The sale price for the property is $5 million. The city’s share of the net sale proceeds will be approximately $450,000.
“This was an incredibly complex project, as you can tell in the presentation,” Siegel said. “The site itself is complex—numerous physical constraints. Navigating redevelopment law and working with about 10 other agencies is complex. The negotiations are complex.”
Siegel thanked View, Reischl, City Attorney Jeff Ballinger, and the Ganahl family for their efforts during the steps forward.
“I know I got quite a bit of residents asking me throughout the years, ‘Didn’t we approve this years ago?’ ” Councilmember Sergio Farias said. “This is how complicated these things are.”
Mayor Pro Tem Derek Reeve said officials have been trying to figure out how to utilize the property, and diversifying the town’s economy is critical. “To have such a great business with a great family—talk about a perfect fit for San Juan Capistrano,” Reeve said. “This is such an accomplishment.”
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 email@example.com.