Garden Grove

Willowick land talks continue

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

The most intriguing part of Tuesday’s meeting of the Garden Grove City Council is one that occurs before the regular meeting commences.

A closed session set for 5:30 p.m. will focus on a conference with real property negotiators for the potential sales, lease or other use of the Willowick Golf Course, a 101.6-acre site owned by the City of Garden Grove but located within the city limits of Santa Ana.

The agenda for the conference lists negotiating parties as The Trust for Public Land, State Coastal Conservancy and Clifford Beers Housing. That trio is one of three potential developers approved by the city council in December 2020 as candidates for negotiations, along with McWhinney Land LLC and Wakeland Housing, and then  Willowick Community Partners.

Since then negotiations have continued but there may be big differences between the parties. For example, in an e-mail between the city and The Trust for Public Land, it’s stated that TPL’s offer to purchase is a “a firm $2,131,500,” while the city appraisal of the fair market value is “between $90 and $200 million.”

Clifford Beers Housing focuses on building housing for the unsheltered, TPL concentrates on developing and expanding parkland and the Coastal Conservancy is concerned with the state’s waterways, including coast areas, but also rivers, such as the Santa Ana River, which runs along the eastern border of the golf course site.

It’s possible that the final result of negotiations is that the Willowick site would accommodate some combination of the three proposals including affordable housing, parkland (including some related to the river) and commercial (possibly mixed-use) development.

In the latter case, McWhinney is offering three options combining open space, office, retail, residential and civic uses. All three include crossing the Santa Ana River and perhaps some flow of water from the river to create a potential riverfront and river view recreation and parkland.

The regular session of the meeting, scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., will include consideration of the purchase of five police patrol vehicles and the allocation of additional funding for graffiti abatement.




2 replies »

  1. How are they going to use “some flow of water from the river to create a potential riverfront and river view recreation and parkland.” what the Santa Ana River rarely has any water running through it? Did they even bother to LOOK at the Santa Ana River?

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