San Juan Capistrano

SJC Councilman John Perry
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Guest Column
           Exciting Changes to Downtown

            By San Juan Capistrano Councilman John Perry

I was pleased to receive the announcement that Mission Inn San Juan Capistrano signed an operating agreement this month with the Autograph Collection of Marriott International. We will now have a 4-star luxury boutique hotel and spa downtown, across from the Mission Basilica, on the already approved site of the former Walnut Grove and Mission Inn. The project is able to move forward quickly, with groundbreaking expected this fall, due to the 2010 approval of the site by the City Council for a hotel.  

This 124-room hotel will go far towards alleviating downtown parking issues, as the hotel will provide more parking than is required by city code. It will also include valet service and a much-needed conference center.
This project is being made possible by one of our own residents, Bill Griffith, owner of Rivendell Land Co. A distinguished member of our community, Bill and wife Chris, have lived in San Juan Capistrano for over 25 years, and have raised their two children here. Bill Griffith has a long, successful career developing quality projects in San Juan, including Serra Plaza, Los Rios Plaza, Hunter’s Creek, and renovation of the Esslinger Building, the white, art deco-style design building across the street from El Adobe on Camino Capistrano, for which he received an award for the meticulous care and creative nature of the renovation.  Bill and Chris Griffith have taken two “dead-in-the-water” projects, and brought them back to life. The other project, located in the long-vacant Egan House, is now scheduled to open as Ellie’s Table, a boutique high-end bakery and coffee shop, with exclusive dining events to be held on the second floor.

Mr. Griffith, and developer Dan Friess are focused on creating a beautiful entry to our town at Ortega and Del Obispo, and are currently remodeling their property, the Clock Tower Building, at the south entrance of town across from the Vons Shopping Center.

Based on his track record, I am confident that the city is in good hands with Bill Griffith, and San Juan will at last have, in the words of retired Councilmember Roy Byrnes, a “superior hotel”, something so many of our residents and business owners have supported. Because of the superior nature of the architecture and design that we can expect with the new Mission Inn, it is my belief that this project will be the catalyst for more quality retail projects coming to both downtown area and other areas of San Juan as well. Under the leadership of Bill Griffith, the Rivendell Land Co. projects are paving the way to make San Juan Capistrano what it can be; Orange County’s “Carmel of the South”.

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