A rendering of the 102-room boutique hotel slated to open in 2018. Image: Courtesy of Hotel Capistrano by Kimpton
A rendering of the 102-room boutique hotel slated to open in 2018. Image: Courtesy of Hotel Capistrano by Kimpton

San Juan Capistrano

Lawsuit filed against the hotel’s approval continues to move through hearing process

By Allison Jarrell

Developers of the Hotel Capistrano by Kimpton—a 102-room 4-star boutique hotel approved in downtown San Juan Capistrano—announced this week that they expect to open the hotel’s doors in the summer of 2018.

Stratus Development Partners and Steve Oedekerk, Hollywood director and owner of the 3.18-acre property along Camino Capistrano, issued a release on Jan. 10 publicizing the opening date of the hotel, which they said represents a $40-million investment in San Juan’s Historic Town Center.

The hotel will be managed by Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, and according to the release, it will be the first hotel to be built in downtown San Juan in over 50 years. Developers also estimate that the hotel will increase city revenue by over a million dollars annually, with at least $5 million in increased revenue per year for local businesses.

Hotel amenities listed include a farm-to-table restaurant with outdoor patio dining, a rooftop bar, pool area, courtyard, fitness room, roof deck yoga and a garden.

The Hotel Capistrano announcement comes amid a lawsuit filed by local developer Bill Griffith over the legality of the city’s September approval of the project. After dropping his plans for the Inn at the Mission hotel project in September, Griffith filed a complaint on Oct. 4 against the city for approving the Hotel Capistrano.

The Kimpton hotel will be built between the Egan House and the Esslinger Building, which are both owned by Griffith. Griffith recently renovated the Egan House, which is now home to Ellie’s Table Café and Bakery.

The petition for writ of mandate that was filed in the California Superior Court claims that the Hotel Capistrano “violates many provisions of the city’s General Plan, other plans and planning policies established by the city and the city’s municipal code,” making it an “illegal” development that will “have negative impacts on the adjacent, historic Judge Egan House.”

A status conference with Superior Court Judge Kim Dunning is scheduled for Feb. 1.

Despite the ongoing litigation, Oedekerk said in an email that engineering for the hotel is already underway and has been the primary focus since the hotel received approval as it’s the most time-consuming.

“There is nothing keeping us from moving forward to the grand opening, so we have been and continue to be full steam ahead since project approval,” Oedekerk said.

When it comes to pre-construction grading, Oedekerk said there’s far less work to do since the hotel plans largely utilize the current grade of the property. He added that currently there’s no exact date set for the official ground breaking, but developers will be working on a detailed schedule within the next three to four weeks.

“In the interim, our current global schedule has us comfortably landing with the grand opening in summer 2018,” Oedekerk said. “Physical construction will be 12 months.”

When asked about Mayor Kerry Ferguson’s recent remarks at the Dec. 12 City Council meeting and her wish to move the hotel’s restaurant building back to preserve the view of the Egan House’s balcony from the Mission, Oedekerk had this to say:

“We’re talking to Mayor Ferguson, and even at the moment of this conversation, our restaurant building currently has the largest setback of every one of our neighbors, and the Egan House is clearly visible from every conceivable angle on Camino Capistrano,” Oedekerk said.

For more information on the Hotel Capistrano, visit www.kimptonhotelcapistrano.com.

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