The Shell Station at PCH and Amber Lantern is among the structures now fenced off and slated for demolition to make way for the Majestic/Raintree project. Photo: Andrea Swayne
The Shell Station at PCH and Amber Lantern is among the structures now fenced off and slated for demolition to make way for the Majestic/Raintree project. Photo: Andrea Swayne

By Andrea Swayne

The mixed-use Majestic project, approved by City Council in October 2014, has been acquired by Raintree Partners, a multi-family real estate investment and development company located in Laguna Niguel, city officials said.

The project, originated by Majestic Housing and Development, calls for 32,500 square feet of retail space and 109 residential units, to be built on seven lots, in three phases.

Check said the company has plans to begin offering the planned condominium units as rentals.

According to Jason Check, Raintree Partners managing director, the company has been completing offsite utility work and expects to begin demolition of lots’ existing buildings on the week of April 11.

“We are continuing to work closely with city staff to address community concerns about the project,” Check said. “We are a local Laguna Niguel-based company and we don’t want to build something that won’t be well-received. We are exploring the possibility of eliminating the planned roof decks and associated elevator towers, as well as coming up with ideas to further activate Amber Lantern.”

Check added that Raintree is also considering the possibility of changing the portions of the project that are approved for four stories of residential to three stories, possibly by creating townhouse-style units within the ground floor, 18-foot-high units.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Regarding the 58-foot height measurements allowed in the Majestic project: There were no height variances granted to the Majestic project. There are three elevator/utility shafts (one on each of three buildings) that measure 54, 57 and 58 feet. The Town Center Plan and building code, without variances, allow for elevators to provide ADA access to the rooftops. The elevator towers rise 14, 17 and 18 feet, respectively, above the 40-foot maximum building height. The towers take up less than 500 square feet (less than 1 percent) of the 70,000 square feet of roof space. Also allowed without a variance, is screening for rooftop mechanical equipment and rooftop perimeter walls, both at 42 inches. Regarding the four-story buildings: The areas of the project that have four stories contain four levels of residences within the 40-foot height limit and are the same height (40 feet, except for elevator towers, perimeter walls and mechanical equipment screening) as the three-story sections. The three-story sections will house 18-foot retail spaces on the ground level, topped with two stories of residential.

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comments (6)

  • Misinformation campaign begins. Why not get opposing views’ take on the variances? Professional journalism standards would be appropriate for a matter this contentious don’t you think danapointimes?

    • This story includes no “take” on the variances other than the fact that the developer said they are considering making changes to the parts of the project (the variance to allow four stories) and (roof decks and elevators) causing controversy with regard to height.

      The editor’s note was added for clarification of facts related to the portions of the project (railing due to roof decks, elevator towers and screening of rooftop mechanical elements, approved without variances) that rise above the 40-foot limit, as well as to clarify the fact that the sections planned for four stories are the same height as the three-story sections.

      • Is the forty foot height limit really the only issue here? Isn’t the real concern the fact that 4 stories means a whole lot more of those tiny units? We thought we were getting a retail village with some luxury condos. Now we’re getting high density apartments with insufficient parking. This isn’t the Town Center sold to us in 2008.

  • Are you crazy?!?!
    This sounds like more people and more traffic on the now crazy 2 lanes in both directions. I have avoided the city of Dana Point for 2 years. I moved my mail location too.

  • The people are quickly losing any remaining respect for the editor of this paper. The reporting, and editor notes has been continually one sided on this issue. You make note of no height variance, but do not explain that the 4th story whether under 40 feet or not required a variance. Your selective nature of reporting is disturbing. The issue here is density and parking.

    You need to come right out with your opinions since you are selectively and therefor in accurately reporting.
    Inaccurate by omission. Unlike you how you unbelievably and conveniently put the wrong proposition letter on a an pro H proposition letter. Conspiracy theories abound!

    • Dana Point Times Reply

      In response to Larry Willett,
      We appreciate your feedback. However, we would direct you to the following notes and articles that present information you referred to as missing from our coverage:
      =
      DP Times online comment reply:
      Submitted on 2016/04/13 at 7:16 pm | In reply to DP resident.

      “This story includes no “take” on the variances other than the fact that the developer said they are considering making changes to the parts of the project (the variance to allow four stories) and (roof decks and elevators) causing controversy with regard to height.

      “The editor’s note was added for clarification of facts related to the portions of the project (railing due to roof decks, elevator towers and screening of rooftop mechanical elements, approved without variances) that rise above the 40-foot limit, as well as to clarify the fact that the sections planned for four stories are the same height as the three-story sections.”
      =
      Stories about the Majestic/Raintree project, including coverage of the approval in October 2014 (link below), include information regarding the variances.
      //www.danapointtimes.com/city-council-approves-majestic-project/

      =
      With regard to density concerns:
      According to the Raintree representative (quoted in this story), in order “to address community concerns about the project,” Raintree is “considering the possibility of changing the portions of the project that are approved for four stories of residential to three stories, possibly by creating townhouse-style units within the ground floor, 18-foot-high units.
      =
      Also regarding the issue of density related to four stories, please see the city’s response to density questions from the October 21, 2014 meeting agenda (copied text below). The full agenda report can be seen in its entirety at this link. Click on “meeting agenda.”: http://www.danapoint.org/index.aspx?recordid=5682&page=180

      10/21/14 Page 4 Item #12

      “Density: Various members of the public have expressed concerns that the project is too dense and have referenced that not complying with the 3-story standard in the TCP results in a project that is too dense. Staff would like to clarify that a project that strictly complies with the 3-story standard could actually be more dense than the proposed project. Further, the TCP has no maximum density standard. The density of proposed development is limited by the following standards: the Floor Area Ratio (FAR), building height and a limitation on number of smaller units (i.e. unit mix). The proposed project is in compliance with all of these standards that regulate density. The 3-story standard could arguably also limit density; however, in the case of the proposed project, the 4-stories is not intended to maximize density as will be further described below.

      “The TCP states that “no more than 20% of the units can be studios” and “at least 20% of the units need to be 2-bedroom or larger”. If the project was designed to comply with the 3-story standard throughout one hundred percent of the project (as opposed to only along the PCH and Del Prado frontages) and had a unit mix of 20% studios, 20% 2-bedroom units, and 80% 1-bedroom units (a unit mix allowed under the TCP) then the number of units would be greater than what is proposed for the project. Under the proposed project, 96% of units are 2-bedroom units or larger with no studios. To illustrate that the density of the project could have been higher with a three story structure and smaller residential units, staff compared the proposed project’s Phase 1 unit mix with a hypothetical project in the table below.

      density graph

      “To calculate the hypothetical unit mix for the project, staff assumed 5,800 square feet of current open court yard space will be converted into residential units for the two floors above. No residential units are assumed to be on the first floor and are only assumed to be on hypothetical second and third floors. The size of a studio unit is assumed to be 800 square feet, 1- bedroom units are assumed to be 900 square feet, and 2-bedroom units are assumed to be 1,125 square feet. This hypothetical situation based on the described assumptions results in a total of 60 units (as opposed to the 45 units included in the proposed project). This number could increase with even smaller units (500 square feet studios, etc.).
      If the Applicant was proposing to fill in the 4th story with additional units then the project would increase in density. The benefit of having the below courtyard open to the sky results in a better public space and provides for more light and air circulation for the residential units as well as the courtyard space. The Applicant could have increased the number of units which would have resulted in an increased density, even while complying with the 3-story standard, but the trade-off would have resulted in the elimination of the public courtyard space. The TCP does not provide a development standard to require the public courtyard space. This area provides an ‘outdoor living room’ of sorts within the Town Center. This courtyard also results in better retail space which will encourage quality and unique retailers and restaurateurs to invest in Dana Point. Because the proposed project can comply with the 40-foot height limit, even with portions of the project being 4-stories, staff maintains that the benefit of the public courtyards outweighs any negatives associated with not complying with the 3-story standard, especially in light of the fact that the 4-stories does not increase the density.”
      =
      Regarding the letter to the editor headline mistake:

      “Vote Yes on Measure H, Don’t Let Dana Point Become the Apartment Armpit of Orange County,” the letter to the editor by Bill Petersen, appeared in the April 22 edition of the DP Times with an incorrect headline. It was a typo mistake. It never appeared online with the incorrect headline and when it was posted, included the following note:

      “NOTE: this letter ran in print with a mistake in the headline referring to the incorrect ballot measure. We regret the error.”

      The following correction was published in the print edition of the April 29 issue:

      “CORRECTION: A letter to the editor in last week’s issue ran in print with a mistake in the headline referring to the incorrect ballot measure. The correct title for the letter by Bill Petersen is: ‘Vote Yes on Measure H, Don’t Let Dana Point Become the Apartment Armpit of Orange County.’ The incorrect headline never appeared online. We regret the error.”

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