A Lifeline in Sight for Orange County Great Park?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The OC Great Park's North Lawn (Sam Lubell)

One of the biggest casualties since the death of California Redevelopment has been the Orange County Great Park. The 1,360-acre expanse on the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Irvine has seen more than $1 billion in funds redirected to other state priorities, putting its future in severe jeopardy.

One (very) partial solution just emerged, according to the LA Times: developer Fivepoint Communities would more than double the number of residences  surrounding the park in exchange for chipping in $200 million to the city of Irvine to aid with park construction.

Of course that’s just a small fraction of what’s needed, leaving many wondering if the park, which is not even one-tenth complete, will ever be finished. But City Council member Larry Agran disagrees: “The fact of the matter is, the Great Park will be built. It may take longer than 20, 25 years, maybe 30 or 40 years. We’re making progress, and major construction is underway right now at the Great Park.”

California’s Redevelopment Agencies Play the Waiting Game

Newsletter, West
Monday, January 30, 2012

Curbed LA's image, above, of what downtown LA would look like without the CRA (Dando Guerra)

Right now California’s doomed redevelopment agencies have one hope, and its name is SB 659, a bill proposed in the California legislature to postpone dissolution of the agencies until April 15. The bill will allow the agencies to “address serious issues resulting from the recent state court’s ruling,” as bill sponsor Sen. Alex Padilla puts it. Those issues range from paying off bond debts to orchestrating layoffs to transferring assets and responsibilities to successor agencies. Without the bill, most say there will be chaos.

Read an full update to the demise of California’s redevelopment agencies here.

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New Year Brings CRA Disaster in California

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The CRA's dissolution could be the final death knell for the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project (The Related Companies)

The CRA's dissolution could be the final death knell for the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project (The Related Companies)

Now that California’s Redevelopment Association (CRA) has doubled down and lost its bet with the California Supreme Court, leading to the scrapping of all the state’s CRAs, building projects across the state are in severe jeopardy. There are about 400 municipal redevelopment agencies in the state. Here are the projects in trouble for just one (albeit the largest): the Los Angeles CRA. They include nearly $100 million in grant funds to improve public infrastructure and create affordable housing and transit oriented development, the 126-unit Noho Senior Arts Colony in North Hollywood, the renovation of the historic Westlake Theater near downtown, the 35,000 square foot Wattstar Theater in Watts, the Cleantech Manufacturing Center south of downtown, and the biggest, the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project downtown. More than 20 projects in total are in danger. More to come on this huge news, including more lawsuits than you ever wanted to see.

Eureka! California Redevelopment Agencies Sue To Save Selves

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eureka is right!

As we recently predicted, the California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities yesterday filed a lawsuit in the California Supreme Court over the recent passage of bills to eliminate, or at least “ransom” its more than 400 redevelopment agencies. AB 1X 26 eliminates redevelopment agencies while AB 1X 27 allows agencies to exist if they agree to pay their share of $1.7 billion this year and $400 million annually.  Read More

Estolano Enigma Solved

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The LA Times has finally solved the mystery as to why LA Community Redevelopment Agency CEO Cecilia Estolano stepped down late last year. According to The Times (and Curbed LA), Estolano warned LA mayor Villaraigosa that she would resign before moving her agency to a building on the western edge of downtown, which the mayor had requested. ‘The mayor may want to know that he will lose the CEO of his CRA/LA over this,” Estolano wrote in one memo. The paper said that “Villaraigosa’s executive team was baffled by Estolano’s defiance and asked for her resignation.” In an interview with the Times Estolano disputed the claim that she was pushed out. Either way, she’s one of several top officials to leave or be pushed out by the mayor in his final term, as the story states. It’s a wild, uncertain time here in LA.

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