Anaheim, State Agency Settlement Clears Way For Deal To Sell Stadium, Keep Angels In Anaheim

The City of Anaheim and the state Housing and Community Development (HCD) department have reached a settlement agreement that clears the way for the December 2019 agreement that keeps the Angels in Anaheim until at least 2050 while selling the stadium and surrounding property to SRB Management, an Arte Moreno-led partnership.

The deal was officially announced this morning in an online press conference by Attorney General Rob Bonta and Mayor Harry Sidhu.

“This is a huge win for the people of Anaheim and our state,” said Bonta. “And the funds being invested back into the community here come directly from the sale of Angel Stadium.”

“This proposed stipulated judgment achieves more affordable housing than can be gained under the Surplus Land Act,” said Bonta. “It gets sorely needed to affordable housing investments now – not after years of litigation  – and it ensures judicious use of taxpayer dollars efficiently enforcing the Surplus Land Act without spending years potentially millions of city and state resources litigating these issues.”

“This agreement will bring the largest investment in affordable housing in Anaheim history,” said Mayor Sidhu. “[It] means that working families will see housing they can afford sooner.”

“We estimate that this agreement could bring 1,000 new affordable homes into the city within five years,” Sidhu continued.

The settlement agreement modifies the $320 million sale agreement as follows:

Under the original agreement, SRB paid the $320 million with $150 million in cash and $170 million in city-requested credits for community amenities – including a $46 million park and a $124 million credit for including 466 affordable apartments in planned residential development on the site.

The settlement agreement increases the SRB’s cash payment to the city increases from $150 million to $246 million. The city will put $96 million of that into the aforementioned affordable housing fund, and still retain $150 million in cash from the sale.

Put another way, instead of $170 million in credits for parks and affordable housing units on the stadium site, SRB will pay $96 million in cash into an affordable housing fund, including another $28 million worth of affordable units for housing development on the stadium site, and build a $46 million public park.

Brings More Affordable Housing To Anaheim, Faster

The original agreement called for the included affordable housing units to be built over 25 years. Under the settlement agreement, construction of the estimated 1,000 affordable units to be funded by the $96 million housing fund must be underway within five years.

The estimate of 1,000 housing units is based on the assertions by both the state and the city that the $92 million will attract matching state and federal housing funds.

This has been characterized as a “fine” in media coverage and criticism from opponents as if it entailed the writing of a $96 million check to the HCD. Instead, the “fine” was a requirement to set aside 30% of the $320 million sale price to build affordable housing.

As noted above, SRB promises approximately $28 million in affordable units on the stadium site. The precise number that number will build is yet to be determined, although all parties have pledged to pursue building strategies to maximize the number of units.

Mayor Harry Sidhu has called a special city council meeting tomorrow night to ratify the settlement agreement, which will take place concurrently with the regularly scheduled council meeting. If approved by the council, the agreement would go to the Orange County Superior Court for a final OK. The sale would close later this year.

Dispute Settled With No Admission Of Wrong-Doing

The settlement agreement resolves a dispute between the city and the HCD. The latter claimed the December 2019 agreement selling the stadium site violated the state’s Surplus Land Act.

The city asserted its action was entirely within the boundaries of the Surplus Land Act, noting that 15% of the housing units would be affordable – constituting the largest single affordable housing initiative in the city. The city also noted that under the lease in place at the time, the Angels controlled the site until 2038. That would make negotiating with an affordable housing provider – or any other potential buyer, for that matter – a non-starter.

Under the settlement agreement, Anaheim makes no admission of wrong-doing – basically, both sides agree to disagree on the point of law and move forward.

The settlement agreement comes on the heels of a court victory for the city, in which Superior Court Judge David Hoffer ruled against a gadfly group claiming the city council’s decision to sell the stadium site violated the Brown Act.

Clears Way To Multi-Billion Investment In Platinum Triangle

With the way forward cleared by the settlement agreement, Sidhu extolled the prospect of unlocking the economic potential of the stadium site.

“Our plan calls for taking land that produces little for residents today, and turning into revenue for public safety, libraries, community centers, and it also calls for keeping baseball in Anaheim,” said Sidhu.

SRB management proposes redeveloping the 153-acre stadium site as a mix of housing, offices, hotels, retail and entertainment, and public parks. The development will create 75,000 construction and permanent jobs and ultimately generate more than a billion for the city’s general fund.

It will be up to SRB Management whether to modernize the existing stadium or build a new one. Either way, it will be privately financed, with no taxpayer subsidies.

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