Monday, October 04, 2010

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.

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.

The Orange County Register, in it's coverage recently, announ
ced 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.

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.

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.

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.


So, the beat goes on. We have at least three separate players in this game who have previo
usly 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.

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Blogger Unknown said...

It looks like the city will have to stop spending all that lease money they were hoping to wring out of Facilities Management West. I assume that means more employees will now have to be laid off.

If the city is back to 1980 income, they should reduce their current payroll back to the cost of 1980 payroll. That means cutting salaries, as opposed to furloughing staff. Everyone else is forced to live on less income today; why can't city employees do the same?

Face it, .... a little belt tightening is a whole lot better than losing your job.

10/04/2010 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


It is unrealistic to think employees will take a cut in pay to 1980 levels.

It is more likely that you will be able to create a two tier system of pay and benefits and start replacing current staff with cheaper staff as they retire and move on.

Short of that, the best you can do is start laying off and deal with fewer staff. That is what we do in the real world.

10/04/2010 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Gail I have a solution too!!! How about we go back to the 1980 levels of population in Costa Mesa to. This way we can go back to those levels of spending. We would only need to move out about... well... gee, according to the Costa Mesa General Plan (2008) 31,243 people. Here is the link to that for you:

and while I am at it, the city isn't back to 1980's income, in fact it is back to 2001 income at the earliest. Here is the link to that info:

10/05/2010 01:39:00 AM  
Anonymous thergen said...

So, the swap meet sends a letter to the governor stating their contention that the sale of property is illegal? Unless you sell it to them?

10/05/2010 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

thergen, what letter? I've seen the letter sent to The State from Tel-Phil, which does no such thing. It demands that the sale be stopped and lays out the legal grounds for that demand.

10/05/2010 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous thergen said...

That is the letter I am talking about. It says the process is flawed. Unless, apparently in light of their bid, they get to buy the property.

10/05/2010 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

thergen, it DOES NOT say that. You're welcome to post here, but let's stick to the facts. The final paragraph of that 9 page document says, "There is insufficient legal bases for continuing with this solicitation. Given inherent legal and procedural deficiencies identified by this Protest, the RFP II should immediately withdrawn and/or cancelled."

Nothing in that document says, "Unless you decide to sell it to us."

10/05/2010 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The fairgrounds deal was a political mess from the beginning, but it seems that nearly everything Righeimer touches or attempts to assert his influence over ends up this way. I, for one, am not prepared to deal with this for four years... look what history tells us:

10/05/2010 10:01:00 PM  

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