Across the Area

Shape of Things to Come: 2023

THE AURELA project, with Kimpton and LeMeridien hotels on Harbor Boulevard (City of Garden Grove).

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune

Muhammed Ali once said that “The future is a mist.” Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in this world is certain.” Theodore Hook said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

All are true, but in this look at what 2023 might bring, the emphasis will be on what’s being done to invent the shape of things to come in the West Orange County area.


Dealing with the challenges of the unsheltered in the West Orange County area may make some major strides in 2023. Huntington Beach has a navigation center and plans to convert it into permanent supportive housing (PSH), so that long-term solutions to the problem might be more available.

THE NAVIGATION CENTER in Huntington Beach (City of HB).

Garden Grove and Westminster – together with Fountain Valley – have partnered up to create a navigation center located in Garden Grove. Additionally, Garden Grove is already in the process of creating some PSH, and there’s considerable county, state and federal money for these purposes.

Stanton has been a leader in converting past-their-prime motels on Beach Boulevard into temporary shelters.

Perhaps as important are the new drug and mental health courts which will allow law enforcement agencies, families etc. to compel some addicted and/or mentally ill persons to undergo treatment.


There’s considerable controversy over whether major projects create more problems than they solve. We will all get a chance to study that as two major developments move forward in Garden Grove – three huge hotels on Harbor Boulevard – and the “new” Westminster Mall in 2023. 

WILLOWICK Golf Course is owned by the City of Garden Grove but located within Santa Ana city limits.

The latter would combine residential, retail and office uses in a way similar to the Bella Terra one offramp south in Huntington Beach. A successful project would – eventually – make for a big boost in city sales tax revenue.

Locals in Garden Grove are looking forward to the opening of the first phase of the Cottage Industries project east of the Civic Center, in which long-standing homes are repurposed into hip small businesses.

Perhaps the biggest potential project would be at the Willowick Golf Course – 101.5 acres – owned by Garden Grove but located in Santa Ana. Years have passed with no sticks in the ground. Don’t give up, but don’t hold your breath.


The 1-405 (San Diego Freeway) construction project is scheduled to be completed in late 2023. The replacement of 18 bridges and the addition of two new lanes in each direction through Orange County is intended to accommodate an expected major increase in traffic. By 2040, it’s predicted that travel time from SR-73 to I-605 will be cut to 29 minutes and 13 minutes for those using the 405 Express Lanes.

Plans for the OCStreetcar connecting Garden Grove and Santa Ana call for construction to be completed in 2023, followed by testing and the beginning of passenger service in 2024.

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