Tuesday, August 24, 2010


In a process full of bizarre events, this may be the most bizarre of all! UPDATE BELOW

In a press release issued today the State Department of General Services announced that the Orange County Fair and Event Center has been placed back on the block! The Daily Pilot broke the story locally just before 11:30 a.m. HERE.

In a press release dated today, the DGS announced it will accept bids of no less than $96 million for the property, and that the bids must be submitted no later than September 30th, 2010. The DGS says it's on target to complete the sale by December, 2010.

According to the revised RFP, the bidders will be required to include a $50,000 deposit, the minimum down payment will be $20 million and the terms of payment will be no longer than 40 years. You can read the entire revised RFP, including the schedule of events HERE, then clicking on the appropriate link.

I have no idea what this does to the deal with Facilities Management West and the City of Costa Mesa, but I suspect FMW will be preparing it's bid for the property post haste!

If a new bidder successfully purchases the property, the terms of Measure C and the City General Plan will come into play. That's really the only good news here.

UPDATE: Just got off the telephone with OC Fair and Event Center CEO Steve Beazley. He and I read the RFP similarly.. the 32nd District Agriculture Association remains intact. One could interpret this that they can bid for the right to operate the venue for a new owner or - get ready for this - MOVE the Fair! Yep, I suspect many people are spinning their Rolodex's right now, looking for Larry Agran's number.

And, what of the foundation members of the current Board formed a year ago? Methinks they may be looking for financial partner to bid on the Fairgrounds, too. Ah, what fun!



Anonymous kevin said...

OK Geoff, hold you horses (not the ones in the OCFG stables).
As much as I love the fair, I have been telling anyone who would listen, that it will be moved to the Great Park. Doesn't anyone get it? That has ALWAYS been the agenda for that toxic landfill.
In my so humble opinion, let the Fair go, we need to keep the grounds.
The State Fair loses money while it is in town. I use to be two weeks and for showing off farm stuff, crafts, art, quilts and lots of food. This year it was all food and rides. I'll go to Disneyland or Knott’s if I want rides.
Here is the rub. The grounds are sold out every year to the swap meet and different shows and exhibitions. The City makes more money from these than it does during the Fair. With a little management and an aggressive event planner it could be even more profitable.
Let the Fair go haunt Irvine, they have always wanted it. Keep the land and make it a great event center.
I you want rides and fast food then set a portion aside and make it similar to the Long Beach Pier or Santa Monica Pier; make it year round. Maybe they could move the” In&Out” from my neighborhood, there.
Kevin Doane / oclonghair.com

8/24/2010 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous pappluen said...

Hey Kevin,

Sorry to burst your bubble but your understanding of the fairgrounds in completely uninformed.

Let me set you straight on a couple of points (Geoff, chime in if I miss anything):

1. The fairgrounds are state property run by a state agency.

2. The Orange county fair is an event held once a year, put on by fair management (it doesn't come to town as you would suggest), and makes a lot of money each year. That is why they keep extending the run. Why turn away money?

3. The fairgrounds management rents out the property to other events throughout the year to make even more money.

4. The only money the city makes off the deal is through sales tax. All other money raised at the fairgrounds stays at the fairgrounds. How do you think they can afford all those nice new buildings?

5. If the state keeps the fairgrounds, the state keeps the fair in Costa Mesa.

Now that you are caught up with some facts, feel free to speak.

8/25/2010 07:00:00 AM  

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