Mission Promenade Is Nearing Completion


Across the street from the 220-year-old Mission San Juan Capistrano is one of the city’s newest projects: Mission Promenade.

A few of the shops in the one-block area of Camino Capistrano have opened already, and the entire row is to be completed this year.

The shopping district has converted several historic landmarks, including the first City Hall, newspaper office, fire station and pharmacy, and has remodeled others, adding wooden arches, tile roofs and brick facades.


“To help protect the character of the area, we’ve taken great care in preserving the thematic architecture of the existing structures,” said Stephen Nordeck of developer San Juan Partners.

Developer and landowner Richard J. O’Neill bought the buildings from the city redevelopment agency in 1994 for $1.1 million.

The shopping plaza is 100% leased to a range of businesses that include the Joan Irvine Smith art gallery, Diedrich Coffee, two restaurants and several clothing and home furnishings stores.

The project won grudging approval from some members of the community’s historical society.

“I’m not against the image and facade these guys have built,” said Bob Dunn, vice president of the historical society.

His objection, he said, was that Verdugo Street, a small street that ran behind the shops, was turned into a parking lot rather than into a promenade around the new shops.