PLACENTIA : Former Bar May Be Demolished

A bar that has been closed for four years is causing the city trouble and officials want to call in the wrecking ball.

Four years after the owner boarded Zavala’s Place, which is in the city’s historic downtown area, the city says it remains a public nuisance.

The city has given Hilario Zavala 30 days to come up with a plan to either renovate or tear down the peach-colored building, or the city will level it and bill the owner.

In May, Orange County Fire Inspector Tony Riniti declared the building a fire hazard, with rubbish spread throughout the interior. Two exterior walls are in danger of collapsing. A shed roof at the rear of the building shows massive deterioration, city officials said.


“There is always graffiti, it has accumulated a lot of junk inside and it is falling apart,” said Joyce R. Rosenthal, director of development services.

In June, the city council declared the building at 309 W. Santa Fe Ave. a public nuisance. At that time, the city asked Zavala to submit a plan to renovate the former bar, but Zavala offered to board the windows and clean and lock Zavala’s Place until he has the money to renovate the building.

The City Council rejected that plan, saying the city could not wait indefinitely for Zavala to correct the problems.

Although the building is 70 years old, the Placentia Historical Society determined it does not have historical value. The building’s location in the Santa Fe commercial district makes it eligible for low-interest rehabilitation loans but typically those loans are not granted to bars, Rosenthal said.


“Mr. Zavala has indicated his intent was to bring it back as a sports bar,” Rosenthal said.

Zavala, who could not be reached for comment, has until Sept. 6 to submit a timely plan for renovating the building, Rosenthal said.