Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Costa Mesa's Fairgrounds Offer Revealed

How much is the Orange County Fair and Events Center worth? Well, we know the State thinks it's worth more than the $56.5 million offered by Steve Craig and Dwight Manley. Soon we will find out if they think it's worth $96 million, because that's what the City of Costa Mesa offered for the property today.

According to the press release distributed this afternoon, the team of City Manager Allan Roeder, Councilwoman Katrina Foley and Councilman Gary Monahan hand-delivered a proposal to Sacramento today that offered to pay precisely that amount for the land and "personal property" at the site. Foley is quoted as saying "We had a very positive meeting. We gave the Governor's representatives our word that the City of Costa Mesa is committed to buying the OC Fairgrounds." Monahan said, "The meeting went very well. We are moving forward to formalize the sale of the fairgrounds to the City of Costa Mesa." Roeder, the chief negotiator for the City, added, "We've worked very hard to get to this point and we will finish what we started."

Attached to the press release was a letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger dated today which outlined the City's proposal. Terms included:

*An offer to purchase the site for $96 million;

*A commitment by the City to close the purchase no later than October 31, 2010;

*A draft Purchase and Sale Agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the transaction;

*Information on public and private sector entities interested in participating with the City in completing this transaction;

*The City's original Letter of Intent to purchase the OC Fair & Event Center; and

*The City Attorney opinion regarding the constitutional obstacles that must be resolved to execute a promissory note.

Further, the proposal outlined actions they felt both the City and the State must undertake in order to execute the Purchase and Sale agreement. Those are:

State Actions
1. Identification of Personal Property included in the sale as included in the Purchase and Sale Agreement as Exhibit B;

2. Approval by the 32nd District Agricultural Association Board of Directors of the sale of the personal property;

3. Vetting of the Purchase and Sale Agreement by the appropriate State authorities:

4. Legislation enacted to authorize sale of the site and designation to the City of Costa Mesa as the 32nd District Agricultural Association; and

5. Lifting of current operation limitations currently imposed on the OC Fair & Event Center, specifically booking and contracting for events past October 2010, subject to City Council approval, so that the upcoming OC Fair and the events program may perform at 100% capacity.

City of Costa Mesa Actions
1. Complete inspections, investigations, and audits as outlined in the Purchase and Sale Agreement;

2. Finalize the financing mechanism required by constitutional law and the operating entity for the business;

3. create the legal entity that will hold title to the property; and

4. Approval by the City Council through legally required public process of all agreements related to and necessary for the execution of the transaction.

The letter went on to say that the City is agreeing to buy the property as is, with the understanding the City will conduct inspections and evaluations of the real property and the personal property being purchased and guarantees that it will accept the property so long as there is no event or condition which would cost the City more than $4.8 million to correct within a year after purchase. As an alternative to this provision, the State could promise that there is no condition affecting the property being purchased that would cost the City more than $4.8 million to correct in that period of time, with a remedy for any violation of that promise.

Whew! I highlighted some points I found particularly interesting, especially that one in number 3 above.

OK... long-winded, for sure, but the package has been delivered and our team may now take a deep breath and, hopefully, get some rest. No timetable for a reply to this proposal was indicated, however, time certainly is of the essence.


And, there is always the other shoe waiting to drop - the meeting tomorrow by the Fair Board in which it will consider two separate items on it's agenda designed to head off any sale of the Fairgrounds. Since we've been told that the State knows they are considering such an action, it seems very unlikely that any decision will be made until and unless the Fair Board makes it's own pitch. That's a shame. I still think the Fair Board's action tomorrow is simply a last-minute attempt to retain their jobs and influence. We'll see.

One more time, thank you from all of us out here to all those members of the city staff, consultants and our elected officials who worked so diligently to arrive at this moment. We know you gave it your very best and, at least from this tax payer, your efforts are much appreciated.

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Blogger mesa verde madman said...

I don't know where the money will come from, but if they pull this off, I think the whole city should be pretty proud that we'll manage to keep the fairgrounds and we won't have an outlet mall in our backyard in a few years. Who'da thunk they could put all their petty differences aside and put this offer together?

4/22/2010 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

mesa verde madman, you're right. This whole "Fairgrounds" issue has brought together some unexpected alliances. I hope we find out, one way or another, about the State's decision soon. As I type this the Fair Board is about to go into session and discuss their alternatives to the City's proposal. I won't be there, but hope some who attend will report out on the proceedings.

4/22/2010 09:59:00 AM  

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