Restaurants to replace church at historic Old Towne Orange building

By Daniel Langhorne

A 95-year-old building near the Orange Plaza, originally built as an indoor Ford dealership showroom, will get a facelift before hosting two new restaurants.

Adam Chez, a co-owner of 240 W. Chapman Ave., told the Orange Design Review Committee, Nov. 15, that he will lease the property to the small-chain restaurants, Snooze: an AM Eatery and The Taco Stand. But first, the property will undergo a thorough renovation, including removal of stucco to reveal the original brick on the building’s exterior.

Tony Trabucco, vice president of the Old Towne Preservation Association, said the neighborhood group was supportive of plans to restore the building’s brick exterior. “We just want to again thank the owners for meeting with us,” Trabucco said. “It
will obviously improve that corner from what’s there now.”

The Design Review Committee approved the project with multiple conditions, including further review if new architectural features are discovered during the demolition phase. “We can’t know what those details are without the brick being exposed,” Committee Chair Robert Imboden said. “We typically don’t let these things be resolved in the
field.”

Economic growth in action
The project is across from the future Orange Metrolink Parking Structure currently under construction. 


The remodeling of 240 W. Chapman is the latest investment within the footprint of the Santa Fe Depot Specific Plan, a document that established guidelines for redeveloping the largely industrial area west of the Orange Plaza. Within the last few years, Chapman University constructed its Digital Media Arts Center within the California Copper Wire Co. building at Sycamore Avenue and Cypress Street. It also renovated another industrial building on Cypress Street as a temporary home for the Hilbert Museum of California Art, which is slated to move to the remodeled Villa Park Orchards Packinghouse.

A rich history
The building’s original owner, Stanley Mansur, worked out of the Armor Building at the south-west corner of Plaza Square, which is being restored as the future home of Urth Caffe. Mansur had the structure built on W. Chapman Ave. to have room for
an indoor car dealership. He went on to build an identical building at 401 W. Chapman Ave.

Since the days of the Mansur dealership, the building at Lemon Street and Chapman Avenue also served as a furniture store. It’s currently the home of Plaza Bible
Church. The church’s pastors did not respond to requests for a comment on plans for the congregation’s future