The Santa Ana City Council has approved a new development deal for the downtown corridor that supporters say will redefine the future of the Southern California city.
The development, known as “3rd and Broadway,” will include a 16-story apartment complex, hotel, and new parking structure.
“I think this is going to be an iconic project in Orange County,” Mayor Miguel Pulido said.
The city has contracted developer Caribou Industries to oversee the project. The company will be responsible for processing all entitlements and providing funding for the development, which is estimated to be over $100 million. In return, the city donated the land for the project and promised to make an additional $13 million in public improvements to the area.
“I believe the developer deserves a lot of credit because a project like this is very complicated and involves a whole lot of moving parts, and we have been at it for a long time—not because we are slow or taking too much time, but because of the very nature of the complexity of it all,” Pulido said at the city’s Nov. 17 council meeting.
The 16-story residential complex will contain 171 rental units, including 95 studios, 51 one-bedroom apartments, and 25 two-bedroom apartments. Nineteen units will be allocated to “very low income” housing, and will be set aside for those 55 years or older who earn no more than 50 percent of the area’s median income, estimated at just under $62,000 per year by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2018.
The hotel will be 10 stories tall with 75 rooms, and over 13,000 square feet of floor space will be set aside for retail establishments. The complex will feature publicly accessible spaces, including a rooftop lounge in the hotel, a Sycamore Street and special event promenade, multiple outdoor areas for relaxing, and a meeting room.
If hotel revenue falls below certain benchmarks by the end of the second year, the developer will have the option to convert the rooms to residential units.
The new parking structure will be divided into 196 spaces for residents, 83 for hotel guests, and 211 for the public. Each apartment unit will be allocated one parking space, while the two-bedroom units will get two spots.
Santa Ana Assistant City Manager Steven Mendoza lauded the benefits the new complex will offer the city and its residents.
“This collaboration between Caribou Industries and the city of San Ana literally builds upon our real estate assets and airspace while providing community benefits in the shape of revenue for services, a hotel, much needed housing units, 13,000 square feet of retail on the ground level, 19 very-low-income residential units, public improvements including curbs, gutters, sidewalks, storm drains, a rough top bar, transit-oriented development, public parking, and construction jobs and permanent jobs,” Mendoza said during the meeting.
“All of this while also reconnecting the north part of downtown with the south part of downtown via the new Sycamore.”
As part of the deal, the city’s Sycamore Street will be reconfigured for use as a private thoroughfare, providing a public right-of-way.
The site is currently a 440-space public parking structure built in 1980. The structure, which officials estimated was worth $3 million, will be demolished by the city to make way for the new development.
In addition to donating the land, the City of Santa Ana will apply $6 million toward general public improvements and another $7 million toward public parking for the new complex.
In return, officials estimated the annual revenue stemming from the project to be around $737,000, including property taxes ($340,000), hotel visitors tax ($270,000), sales tax ($82,000), and utility tax and miscellaneous ($45,000).
The project will create an estimated 510 construction jobs for the city.
At its Nov. 17 meeting, the Santa Ana City Council voted 5 to 1 in favor of the project. Councilman David Penaloza voted against it, while Councilman Vicente Sarmiento, the incoming mayor, abstained from the decision because he owns property in the downtown area.
Santa Ana residents who called in to the meeting shared mixed views on the project. Some lauded the creation of businesses and jobs in the downtown area, while others voiced concern about the noise, cost, and the city’s donation of the land, which they say was undervalued.