New details have emerged in the city of Anaheim’s pending sale of the 152 acres that include Angel Stadium.
The initial price tag was $325 million, to be paid by the buyer SRB Management to the city. But a new plan has the city receiving $150 million in cash, and another $170 million represented in community benefits investments.
Officials announced some details of the new plan just ahead of Labor Day weekend, and more details were published in a Sept. 9 city planning commission report. Officials further discussed the plan at a virtual town hall on Sept. 8. “We will get $150 million in cash for our city, and the balance in affordable housing and an incredible park for our residents,” said Mayor Harry Sidhu in a Sept. 4 video statement. “I believe these things are worth making part of this plan.”
A 7-acre park and at least 466 affordable apartments (9 percent of the total 5,200 residential units planned for construction on the land) are the main community benefits of the deal.
As the deal has been negotiated and discussed, the question of community benefits has been a big one.
“In most projects, that’s part of the obligation that a developer takes on if they really want the project done. That’s kind of their contribution to the city’s health,” Anaheim City Councilman Jose F. Moreno told The Epoch Times last month, before the details of the community benefits were released.
Now $170 million of the asking price for the stadium and surrounding land will go toward building those benefits. That, combined with the $150 million cash to the city, totals $320 million, still $5 million shy of the original price tag.
That $5 million was knocked off for Anaheim to retain 2.5 acres that include a water well and space for a future fire station.
Sidhu lauded the new plan as a way to relieve the city of responsibility for the stadium while investing in needed community benefits.
“We will no longer have to pay money each year to maintain the stadium,” Sidhu said. “All of that would now rest with the Angels ownership with no city subsidies.”
The buyer, SRB Management, is owned by Arte Moreno, who also owns the Angels baseball team.
Regarding the $170 million cash the city is giving up for the building of housing and the park, Sidhu said, “Anaheim would have to pay for these valuable community benefits one way or another, so we are making them part of this deal.”
That $170 million breaks down as follows: $46.2 million for the park, including $25 million to build, almost $15 million for the land, and the rest in ongoing maintenance; the other approximately $124 million goes to affordable housing.
Alex Winsberg, general counsel for SRB Management and Angels Baseball, spoke at the town hall. He described the park as having “extensive amenities, from shade structures to water features, barbecues, restroom facilities, playgrounds, grass and open fields, benches, and a whole bunch of other stuff, including public art.”
He said 52 percent of the Big A project is housing.
Mike Lyster, the city’s chief communications officer, said at the town hall: “These would be high-quality affordable apartments existing right alongside or in the same building as market-rate apartments. This is what’s called inclusionary, or integrated, affordable housing.”
Although the city is giving SRB a credit to build the first 466 affordable units, SRB will go on to build about 300 more at its own cost, Lyster said.
A little over half of the 466 affordable housing units will go to Very-Low Income households. That would mean a combined income of about $50,000 annually for a household of two adults, according to Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.
The others will go to Lower Income households—at about $80,000 in annual income for a household of two adults.
These affordable units must be available to rent within 25 years after closing the purchase agreement.
“We’re not talking about it being built by 2025. This is a ‘by 2060’ kind of thing,” Councilman Moreno said of the whole project in an interview with The Epoch Times last month. He said the financial benefits to the city—including revenue from hotel, property, and sales tax—won’t come through immediately.
“So those revenues of $20 million—even if they’re actualized in 40 years—that’s $20 million in today’s dollars,” he said.
Sidhu said when he became mayor, the Angels team was looking to leave Anaheim, and this deal is important in keeping them. Part of the deal is that the baseball team will stay in Anaheim until at least 2050.
SRB Management paid $5 million when the initial purchase and sale agreement was approved by the city council on Dec. 21, 2019. A payment of $45 million is expected if the council approves the agreements and master site plan this October. Part of the planning commission’s proposal will appear before the city council on Sept. 9. The rest will be heard at the end of the month.
Lyster answered a question at the town hall about what would happen if the council doesn't approve the proposal. He said, "If they don't approve it, we could end up going back to negotiations."
The sale won't move forward if the council doesn't approve it. The agreement with the Angels team to stay in Anaheim until 2050 would also not be settled, though the Angels currently are under agreement to stay until at least 2029.
The city of Anaheim invites the public to attend virtual town hall meetings via Zoom on Sept. 12 and Sept. 24.