Garden Grove

Master developer for Willowick on agenda

WILLOWICK Golf Course is owned by the City of Garden Grove but is within Santa Ana city limits. The Garden Grove City Council will consider the selection of a master developer when it meets on Tuesday (Tribune photo).

A major step in the potential development of the Willowick Golf Course may be taken by the Garden Grove City Council when it meets on Tuesday.

The council will consider a master ground lease for the 101.5-acre site with developer MWWillowick LLC, the creation of McWhinney Real Estate Services, Inc., a Denver-based firm that has built several hotels in the Harbor corridor.

The property at 3017 W. 5th Street is owned by the City of Garden Grove, but is within the city limits of Santa Ana.

Under the terms of the proposed lease the new tenant would lease the site from the city for an initial cash payment of $2 million. The initial lease would run for 55 years.

The lease does not commit the developer or city to any specific kind of development, and is contingent on the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development arguing that the golf course is “surplus land” and therefore should be dedicated to open space and/or affordable housing.

Garden Grove will contest the issue in court when the action is heard on Dec. 17.

While no specific project has been chosen, the final three suggestions from a consultant included a stadium project, a mixed-use project and an agricultural/low density development.

MWWillowick would be responsible for all pre-development costs, community outreach and entitlements and serve as master developer of the Willowick site, having been chosen from among five candidates.

The proposed action by the council – if approved – could have the effect of beating a deadline of Jan. 1, 2020 when a new state law changing the definition of “surplus land” takes effect.

For the details of the proposed lease agreement, go to and navigate to the Dec. 10 council meeting agenda.

The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. in its chamber in the Community Meeting Center, 11300 Stanford Ave.

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