In 2004 and 2005, while serving as Mayor of Anaheim, the City of Anaheim underwent a massive revision of its General Plan. This document represents the city’s long-term planning for land use, development, opportunities for new housing, future transportation, environmental issues and other important issues for the city to prepare for over a forty-year horizon.
One of the most important steps we took in 2004 was the development of the Platinum Triangle, an 800-acre section of land around Angels stadium. Within the land-use plans for the Platinum Triangle, the city created a unique zoning plan- which assigned future development opportunities, ultimately new development rights. That opportunity zoning and the streamlining of the development processes within the Platinum Triangle allowed for property owners in this area to develop up to 15,000 residential units and 21 million square feet of office, commercial, retail and entertainment spaces.
So, for me, it has been exciting to see the plans made over 16 years ago, taking shape today throughout the Platinum Triangle, specifically the spectacular proposed developments around the Honda Center, ARTIC and Angels Stadium.
What might not have been trumpeted back then, but is playing out this week, was our desire to see how future development opportunities that were provided to land owners in the Platinum Triangle, could be used to generate revenues to improve the city owned Angels Stadium, or build a replacement stadium, without having to dip into city tax dollars.
You see, the stadium and the land around the stadium is city property. City leaders purchased this land and built the stadium with public dollars 60 years ago with the desire to make Anaheim and Orange County a world-class destination. It worked!
But in 2004, as we saw that the team could leave the city under terms in the lease, we had to consider the next steps, how to ensure the stadium would be improved or replaced so that the Angels continued to call Anaheim home.
That is why, during the creation of the Platinum Triangle, we placed development rights on the city-owned land surrounding the stadium. This was not done to make money for the city, but rather to create value for future development so that funds would be made available for future stadium improvements or the development of a new stadium.
As the city council of Anaheim considers this issue this week, those early plans are being deployed today.
Anaheim’s Mayor Harry Sidhu and the current council leadership of Councilmembers Kring, Faessel, O’Neil and Brandman, are taking the steps to finalize an important agreement with the Angels that will ensure the stay in the city, that funds will be generated for the team to improve the stadium or build a new one AND generate over $150 million to the city’s coffers over the next three decades.
The Angels are a huge asset to the people of Anaheim and the community of Orange County. Not only does a Major League Baseball team put our region on the map, but they are an engine of economic growth for the entire area- improving property values, while attracting businesses and restaurants.
Also, MLB in town brings opportunity – opportunities for future development and job opportunities.
These are things that cannot be discounted—especially as our economy is still reeling from the impact of the pandemic.
Now it is interesting to see some voices opposing this city/ Angels deal. The usual attack is that the city won’t make enough money in the sale. But the city didn’t purchase the property 60 years ago for the purpose of filling the city coffers with development fees, but rather, the city purchased the stadium in order to bring Angels Baseball to Anaheim and enjoy the economic benefits of keeping them here.
So now is the time to thank the Anaheim council majority for getting big things done, for no other reason than to benefit all of the people who live and work in Anaheim.