Today, in a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger, the Acting Director of California’s Department of General Services announced that he has rejected all bids for the Orange County Fairgrounds. An excerpt from his letter:
Please be advised that after careful consideration, today I have decided to reject all of the bids. The offers contained in those bids are not in the best interest of the citizens of California because they do not obtain the highest and most certain return for the state. I continue to fully share your commitment to selling the fairgrounds and the department will go forward to explore alternative means to promptly achieve that goal.
Obviously, this is not a rejection of a sale, but hopefully it’s a start.
In case you don’t know what I’m writing about, the State of California issued a Request for Proposals last year inviting potential buyers to bid on the Orange County Fairgrounds. The State’s estimated value of the Fairgrounds is $96 million to $180 million, but the highest bidder offered $56.5 million.
The highest bidder was Craig Realty Group, a real estate development company that is “a leader in the development and management of income producing upscale factory outlet centers.”
The Governor actually proposed selling seven state owned properties in his budget revision last year. The seven properties are:
- Cal Expo
- San Quentin State Prison
- Cow Palace
- Del Mar Fairgrounds
- Orange County Fairgrounds
- Ventura County Fair Grounds
- Los Angeles Coliseum
I believe that the Orange County Fairgrounds property is the only one that has been put up for sale so far.
Although I live in Riverside, I grew up in Costa Mesa just a few miles away from the Orange County Fairgrounds. In fact, my high school graduation was held at the Pacific Amphitheatre, which is part of the Fairgrounds. I also take my kids to the OC Fair each summer.
Hopefully, the OC Fairgrounds will not become the OC Outlets.