Dust finally settles on Angel Stadium sale



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Angel Stadium settlement reached Image: MLB

The City of Anaheim in California (US) voted on April 26th to confirm details of a settlement with the State of California, closing another chapter in the long-enduring saga over Angel Stadium sale which has invited a lot of controversy.

The ‘Spectrum News 1’ stated that the vote, which passed 5-2, solidifies an agreement in which the City will put $96 million from the stadium sale into affordable housing.

The 45,050-capacity Angel Stadium of Anaheim, originally known as Anaheim Stadium and later Edison International Field of Anaheim, is a baseball stadium located in Anaheim, California, US.

The Los Angeles Angels are an American professional baseball team based in the Los Angeles metropolitan area (US). The Angels compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League West Division. Since 1966, the team has played its home games at the Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
 

Takeaways

  • The City of Anaheim voted yes, 5-2, to agree on a settlement with the California State Attorney General, Rob Bonta;
  • The deal stipulates that the City must spend $96 million from the $320 million in sales from the Angel Stadium deal on affordable housing;
  • The deal does not stipulate how many units of affordable housing must be on site, but the developer is compelled to include $27.7 million in affordable housing; and
  • The City staffs hopes to triple the money through State and Federal grants.

 
The ‘Spectrum News 1’ further stated that affordable housing advocates wanted more and still says the City (Anaheim) violated the law, even though the City admits no wrongdoing in the settlement with the California State Attorney General Bonta.

Advocates had gone after the City, claiming it had violated the Brown Act (guarantees the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies), concealing details that ought to have been discussed publicly. A judge recently disagreed, clearing the City of those accusations.

The sticking point in the stadium sale has been affordable housing and how much money from the sale would go toward housing accessible to low-income earners.

Public commenters addressing the City Council called the affordable housing money “a shell game”, indicating that the $96 million was not a windfall but a compromise that left Angels Baseball off the hook.

Council Member Jose Moreno borrowed that language in his own comments, vociferously complaining about the lack of time members had to review details of the settlement with the California State Attorney General Bonta. Moreno reiterated his claim that the sale was illegal, eliciting immediate interruption from the Mayor of Anaheim, Harry Sidhu, who repeatedly pointed out that the City admitted no wrongdoing.

Council Member Avelino Valencia also expressed misgivings over the deal. Valencia did not categorically condemn the settlement, instead saying he couldn’t vote to move ahead without more time with the settlement details.

Moreno echoed those feelings – “We only had 24 hours to understand this settlement and what it means.”

Moreno then called for a motion to postpone the vote, leading to even more debate during the nearly three-hour special meeting. Sidhu put the motion to a vote that lost, with only Valencia and Moreno voting ‘yes’.

Among the confusion highlighted by Valencia and Moreno is the exact number of affordable housing units that will be required to be on the property. Previous discussions indicated 466 units would be included on site. Now, it’s unclear how many units will be included in the coming investments.

Anaheim City Attorney Robert Fabela said there are not a fixed number of units required, but the developer will be compelled to include $27.7 million in its plans.

The rest of the money could be spread throughout the City to assist in meeting the State quota for affordable housing. Housing advocates say it’s not enough. But the City staffs believe the $96 million will roughly triple as they seek out State and Federal grants.

Stated Sidhu, “We will use this money to build an estimated 1,000 new homes across our City … these homes are needed in every part of the City. We will work with our State partners to see if we can find funding for even more affordable housing on site.”

It may be recalled that the City of Anaheim came to the controversial agreement in 2020 to sell 150 acres and the Angel Stadium to team owner Arte Moreno’s company SRB Management for $150 million in cash. The deal also included about $170 million of “community benefits credits” for 466 affordable housing units and a seven-acre park.

The State agency had then said that Anaheim violated the Surplus Land Act by not classifying the land as surplus, not making the land available to other developers and not letting the agency know about the availability of the land and negotiations with Moreno.

Under the Act, public land has to first be made available to affordable housing developers.
 

Settlement reached

Earlier, the ‘Front Office Sports’ stated that after three years, the controversial $320 million sale of Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, is finally close to officially moving forward.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development and the City of Anaheim reached a $96 million settlement. The City agreed to sell the 150-acre stadium site to a company owned by the Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno.

The ‘Front Office Sports’ further stated that now, Moreno’s company can go ahead with a plan that includes building a “mini City” with hotels, restaurants and stores around the stadium – as well as a park and affordable housing.

The deal also means that the Angels will stay in Anaheim until at least 2050.

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