3 Fairgrounds Bidders Identified - So Far
While nobody has officially signed the death certificate on the deal between the City of Costa Mesa and the State of California on the purchase of the Orange County Fair and Event Center, it certainly appears that the grave has been dug to a sufficient depth and that all we're waiting for is for the body to be rolled in, covered up and the epitaph carved on the headstone. Might I suggest, "Here lies a deal, doomed from the start. Politics and greed drove a stake through it's heart." The State has a budget - without a rider authorizing the sale - and the legislature is now in recess - without signing the enabling legislation. I guess we're all done but the official pronouncement. Who knows - that may come at the City Council meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
FACILITIES MANAGEMENT WEST
In the meantime, as previously mentioned, Facilities Management West has submitted a bid for the Orange County Fair and Event Center under the August Request for Proposals issued by the State Department of General Services in August.
AMERICAN FAIRS AND FESTIVALS IS SECOND BIDDER
The Orange County Register, in it's coverage recently, announced that American Fairs and Festivals - a previous bidder and whose team includes Jeff Teller of the Orange County MarketPlace - has also submitted a bid for the property. I spent some time on the telephone with Teller today, who confirmed that he and the American Fairs and Festivals team are, indeed, bidders on the property.
A THIRD BIDDER IDENTIFIED
Also submitting a separate bid is Advanced Real Estate Services of Lake Forest, who was previously partnered-up with American Fairs and Festivals in it's negotiations with the City of Costa Mesa this past spring in an attempt to put together a package for the acquisition and lease of the Fairgrounds from The State. That consortium was shoved aside in favor of Facilities Management West at the last minute.
EXCEEDED THE MINIMUM
According to Richard Julian, President of Advanced Real Estate Services, they have submitted a bid which slightly exceeded the minimum amount required by the state - $96 million - and are looking forward November 14th - the date the DGS has indicated will be the time when the successful bidder will be announced.
DGS - ANNOUNCEMENT MAY BE DELAYED
In a conversation with Eric Lamoreaux of the DGS today he indicated that there MAY NOT be an announcement of the successful bidder on that date - the DGS may wait until they have actually negotiated with their choice of bidders before making an announcement. I have no idea why we should expect transparency in this deal now, since there has been very little throughout this process.
During my conversation with Mr. Julian today we discussed other projects they've developed or have in the works. One of them is a development in San Juan Capistrano called The Meadows, which will include single family homes, condos and apartments AND a world-class EQUESTRIAN CENTER. I mention this for you horse folks out there to contemplate. It was clear to me during our conversation that Mr. Julian and his team understand the intrinsic value of equestrian facilities... something to chew on.
HOPING FOR AN EARLY ANNOUNCEMENT
So, the beat goes on. We have at least three separate players in this game who have previously expressed interest and have previously submitted bids. Let's hope the DGS will be able to make a decision and an announcement at the earliest possible date. The residents of Costa Mesa, the elected leadership of our city and the hard-working staff all deserve to have an idea of the future of the Fairgrounds soon.