San Clemente’s historic downtown and Avendia Del Mar have always had a unique variety of retail, office, and mixed-use properties to service residents and tourists. The majority of the buildings have retail or office at street level and multifamily or smaller office suites on the 2nd floor. Most office locations are between 500-1,500 sq. ft. and lease for $1.50-$2.00 per square foot, the smaller individual suites located above or behind the street are generally leased at a flat rate.
The retail businesses along El Camino Real and Avendia Del Mar are a mix of smaller and mid-sized locations between 500-3,000 square feet. Most of these are freestanding buildings with minimal space between stores similar to other coastal locations in Orange County. Retail rates for the downtown area vary greatly and can change dramatically from building to building. The large swing in rates could be due to location, amenities, size, parking availability, and zoning restrictions regarding use. The average price on a square foot basis is between $2.00-$4.00 before any additional fees which are common in leasing retail property.
Though the area sees a great deal of tourist and local traffic that allows most businesses to flourish, it does present some challenges for new retail business owners looking for space. Many of the locations in the downtown area require a shared parking agreement between neighboring businesses to meet parking stipulations and may even need a conditional use permit (CUP) before being allowed to open. The process for the CUP can be lengthy, so it would be wise to look into these potential issues prior to signing a lease. A business owner looking to open a location in downtown San Clemente would benefit by meeting with an experienced local commercial real estate agent and the city planning department regarding parking requirements for their business type to alleviate any confusion or headaches down the road. Contact the downtown business association to learn more about buying, leasing, or selling property in the downtown area.