Emile Haddad seeks your questions; here’s a few

solor decathlon

Tonight’s Irvine City Council meeting will address an artificial deadline for the city council to accept a proposal from FivePoint Communities with what seems to be the largest hostile takeover of public land in OC history.  The pressure by Republicans on Jeff Lalloway to vote yes on the project before all of the details are sorted out is nothing short of astounding.  The GOP and the OC Register are basically pressuring the council to give up their obligation to manage the planning and operations of the Great Park.  Council member Christina Shea and Mayor Steven Choi seem like they are willing to give FivePoint a signed contract and let them fill in the blanks later.

In a word, it’s shameful.

The reality is it’s the city who really holds the cards.  The developer stands to profit to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars if not more than a billion.  They have cheerleaders ranging from the OC GOP, the Orange County Business Council, and the Orange County Register which has abandoned the watchdog role in exchange for corporate cheerleader.

Emile Haddad’s piece in Sunday’s Register is revealing; he says he’ll be at the meeting tonight to answer questions.  OK, here are mine and the comments section is below for answers.

1.  How much profit does FivePoint anticipate making should the deal go through?  A million? Tens of Millions? Hundreds of Millions?  More than a Billion?

2.  If a golf course is so important, why not put it on FivePoint property?

3. Why do you think your company is better suited for managing the Great Park operations over city staff?

4.  If FivePoint is such a great developer, why have you only built about 50 homes in seven years?

5. Why did Lennar ever demolish the runways they were supposed to do years ago?

6. Why did you send a lobbyist with Mayor Steven Choi to Korea?

7.  How much will you personally profit is you get three votes tonight?

8.  So if you don’t get three votes tonight, is the project really dead?

  5 comments for “Emile Haddad seeks your questions; here’s a few

  1. Cynthia Ward
    November 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Dan, I have taken the liberty of borrowing from your previous arguments regarding Anaheim’s negotiations with the Angels, and flipped them to fit the current negotiations regarding the Five Points development at the Great Park. Honestly I don’t think it is a fair exchange, since the Angels are already bleeding taxpayers on the Stadium, and to date Emile Haddad has not made a nickel from Irvine. But other than trying to point out the hypocrisy of your arguments, I have no opinion about the Five Points development, other than in whatever way it may affect the possibility of a Veterans’ Cemetery.

    XXXX
    Dan, loosely rewritten;

    Five Points is a considerable public benefit to the surrounding businesses and the residents of Irvine. The deal allows Emile Haddad to build much of the Great Park where empty blight currently sits. The cost for keeping the developer here is far less than the cost of trying to lure another developer here should Five Points leave.

    You’re asking for costs for some expense that hasn’t happened. Try estimating the millions spent by the Great Park Board already to get just the planning completed. Check out how much New York paid to get the Central Park built (in comparative to period numbers.)

    There is nothing stopping Haddad from building a development in Inglewood or Corona; there’s lots of undeveloped land in OC..its a matter of finding the right spot. I hear Anaheim may have 150 acres and a Stadium lot available soon.

    I like new homes and big open park space. I am glad the Irvine city council is doing what they can to keep the development. They did give up everything and have no cards left to play. But if it keeps the developer here for the next few decades, they still generate a significant amount of income for the businesses near the development.

    Actually, I think the city got what it paid for with the Great Park study. I believe Five Points represents a positive economic engine for the city and the county. By suggesting a more comprehensive report be done, I would hope the results might convince you of the same thing but let’s be honest here; there’s no amount of information that is going to change your minds at all.

    It really doesn’t matter how good or how comprehensive a report is conducted because you are perfectly comfortable with the developer leaving which then creates an expensive, largely unused wasteland at the abandoned base property.

    …or we can flip the article, thusly….

    Tonight’s Anaheim City Council meeting will address an artificial deadline for the city council to accept a proposal from Arte Moreno and the Angels with what seems to be the largest hostile takeover of public land in OC history. The pressure by crony capitalists on Tom Tait to vote yes on the project before all of the details are sorted out is nothing short of astounding. The Council, Chamber of Commerce, and the City’s own staff are basically pressuring the City to give up their obligation to manage the planning and operations of the Stadium and surrounding property. Council members Murray, Eastman, Brandman and Kring seem like they are willing to give Arte Moreno a signed contract and let him fill in the blanks later.

    In a word, it’s shameful.

    The reality is it’s the city who really holds the cards. The Angels stand to profit to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars if not more than a billion. They have cheerleaders ranging from the Chamber of Commerce, the Orange County Business Council, and the Liberal OC which has abandoned their watchdog role in exchange for corporate cheerleader.

    The Anaheim City Council claims nothing is negotiated, and opponents are merely misinformed; they say they’ll be at the meeting tonight to answer questions. OK, here are mine and the comments section is below for answers.

    1. How much profit does Arte Moreno anticipate making should the deal go through? A million? Tens of Millions? Hundreds of Millions? More than a Billion?
    2. If a new stadium is so important, why not pay for it with the profits already pocketed during the 1996 lease giveaway?
    3. Why do you think your company is better suited for managing the land development around the Stadium than an experience developer?
    4. If Moreno/PCI is such a great developer, why have you only built about ZERO homes ever?
    5. Why did the Angels not develop the parking deal they were supposed to do years ago?
    6. Who is your lobbyist, Mr. Moreno?
    7. How much will you personally profit is you get three votes tonight? Better yet, how much will re-election campaigns profit if you get those votes?
    8. So if you don’t get three votes tonight, is the project really dead?
    Really Dan, how is it that Anaheim is foolish to let the Angels consider even the threat of leaving, but you are willing to let Five Points go, when they are the only game in town? I would be willing to bet Anaheim could lease the Stadium for a profitable use faster than Irvine can unload the toxic goo of a former military base….

    In fact, Dan, I think the deal could be even more generous to Haddad, after all, he is offering an economic engine of property taxes, school fees, a golf course, and Great Park and you are not going to get a better offer. Really, Dan, what happens if Five Points leaves Irvine like so many other developers have done? Why you will be stuck with weeds and runways for decades with no hope of ever making Irvine into the cosmopolitan center of the universe….it’s nearly as bad as if you lost a sports team.

    How about this Dan….you offer to take Arte Moreno and let him use his private capital to build a stadium at the Great Park, offering the people of Irvine precisely the same deal spelled out in the current Anaheim MOUs, and Anaheim will give Haddad the Stadium property, with the same offer of public benefits he offered to the Great Park development, in exchange for his building near million dollar homes with cash buyers waiting. Hell, I will even pay for the feng shui expert to design the roadways out of my personal budget. What do you say?

  2. Biff
    November 27, 2013 at 7:58 am

    I think you’re overlooking an important point here, Cynthia. People living in Irvine paid a lot of money for their homes and DESERVE to have nice things, whereas people in Anaheim, well … I’ve heard that most of them don’t even pay HOA fees! Also, Dan likes baseball.

    I believe that once you reconsider things in this light, Dan’s seemingly-hypocritical stance in favor of hinky deals in Anaheim while decrying them in his own city makes a lot more sense.

  3. November 27, 2013 at 8:07 am

    First of all Cynthia, please don’t put words in my mouth. I can do just fine. This is an Apples and Oranges situation and you know it. I
    ‘d have zero problem with carving out 10 acres of land near the Great Park for the new stadium for the Angels and we’ll be happy to have a lot of new businesses surround the area for the new economic engine the Angels would provide.

    The deal was struck last night so the developer got what they wanted. I still want them to answer the questions I posed.

  4. BigBoxOfRedWhine
    November 27, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    From Anaheim, I don’t have a hose in this race, but I would like to expand on your Golf Course question. I am temporarily with relatives in the East, and the hot subject in local papers is a local golf course ‘community’ whose homeowners were suddenly and doubly surprised when 1) the course property showed up on a planning agenda for residential rezoning, and 2) closer examination of their deeds showed the ABSENCE of any covenant to preserve the course use. With regional water usage so critical that (until last week?) an expensive desalinization project was being given local consideration, how long before a turf-thirsty golf course assumes its (REAL intended ?) role as a temporary land bank for FURTHER residential addition? Will 188 re-purposed acres accommodate ANOTHER 4500 dwellings (and at what density?) With idle curiosity I Googled ‘US golf popularity’ and the FIRST 5 of 9 entries showed a DECLINE. Rather than inflame our difference on the Angels deal with “SO how does it feel?”, I think we instead now share a common outrage that economically significant decisions are being sped past leaderships which can be most charitably described as “due-dilligence challenged”. Rotten apples are just as unpalatable as rotten oranges! If opportunity remains in the process, I hope your questions get the answers they deserve, with opportunity for reconsideration / modification of the outcome. We seek that in Anaheim as well.

  5. Dan Chmielewski
    November 29, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Re: the Apples/Oranges — the city and the developer have been in negotiations for a long time. Its just that the city’s leaders felt this was their only option when it really wasn’t when you factor in the developer won’t make hundreds of millions in profits without city approval. There are other ways to raise money to finish the park. There’s no question the death of redevelopment money by Jerry Brown hurt the planning and finance process put in place. If I were on the council, I would have told Haddad to stick it because FivePoint/Lennar has only built about 50 homes on land they can already build in about 7 years and the runways — which the builder was supposed to destroy — are still there. I don’t trust them to follow through on their word. I hope they prove me wrong.

    On the Anaheim side, no one knows what Arte Moreno’s plans are. And every development deal around the current stadium has died. Sportstown USA anyone?

Comments are closed.