With just ten days to go before the Anaheim city council is set to vote on a proposed $325 million land sale to Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno, the city of Anaheim has finally released more than just that three-page summary of the deal. The new documents: an agreement spelling out some details of the land sale, and a summary report on some of the financing.
Unfortunately, neither document answers any of the big questions about the sale, namely whether Moreno will pay full property taxes on both the stadium and surrounding development, what kind of deduction he’ll be able to take for building parks and affordable housing, and how the $325 million sale price was arrived at in the first place. In fact, according to Alicia Robinson of the OC Register, some of that won’t even be decided on until after next week’s council vote:
Council members won’t know when they vote Dec. 20 what that remaining balance will be because the city would reduce the final bill by a yet-to-be-determined amount for benefits it has requested, including affordable housing, additional public park facilities and a workforce agreement to encourage local hiring and the like.
The deal won’t become final without all three parts, the last of which is the city receiving tract maps for development on the property, [city spokesperson Mike] Lyster said, so “it’s not like they’re being asked to vote on something today and they don’t have all the details.”
In fact, it’s exactly like that! Lyster indicated that the deal is “contingent” on the council approving a development agreement and a community benefits agreement sometime in the spring, but if so, then why exactly are they voting on the land sale part now? And also, the land sale agreement seems to indicate (section 4.3) that the sale goes into effect as soon as Moreno signs an agreement to commit to playing games in Anaheim through 2050, agrees with the city on who’ll pay for operations and maintenance of a stadium, and determines “other terms and conditions upon which the parties agree,” so is this really contingent on the spring votes or what?
The sale agreement does indicate how Moreno would make the $325 million in payments, which would come in installments over the next five years, reducing the present value of the sale to Anaheim slightly (to $281 million, by my calculations using a 5% discount rate). Still, there are still more questions than answers about this project, the biggest of which is becoming Why the rush already? It’s going to be an interesting Anaheim council hearing next week, especially if there’s time for public comments.