Garden Grove

Willowick negotiations may start

WILLOWICK GOLF COURSE in Santa Ana is on land owned by the City of Garden Grove.

The reuse of the Willowick Golf Course – owned by the City of Garden Grove but located within Santa Ana city limits – may move forward on Tuesday.

Garden Grove’s city council will consider opening a 90-day negotiation process with three entities interested in developing affordable housing on the 100-acre site as part of a proposed use.

The “sponsors” are:

  • Willowick Community Partners (City Ventures, Jamboree Housing and Primestor)
  • The Trust For Public Land, State Coastal Conservancy and Clifford Beers Housing
  • McWhinney Land LLC and Wakeland Housing.

The site, located just south of Garden Grove’s city limits, was originally contemplated as a major project that could involve such amenities as a sports stadium or a hi-tech campus.

However, new state law requires that “surplus land” be offered first for public education, parkland or affordable housing uses.  The city’s desire is to negotiate a long-term lease or leases rather than sell the property outright.

Willowick was begun as a golf course in the 1920s and was purchased in 1964 by the City of Garden Grove. When a long-held lease with the golf course operator lapsed, both cities began to consider possible re-uses of the site, one of the few remaining large parcels of undeveloped land in central Orange County.

Because of the split ownership-legal authority between the two cities, a joint powers agency might be created to administer the land or both cities would have to agree on any future use of the land.

Also on Tuesday, re-elected members of the city council – including Mayor Steve Jones and councilmembers John O’Neill (District 2) and Kim Nguyen (District 6) – will be sworn in for another term in office.

The council will meet in web conference at 6:30 p.m.


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