The proposed 37 story high rise on Broadway between Washington and 10th St. will have an impact on our neighborhood and downtown Santa Ana.  More than half a million square feet of office space with an 8 story parking garage is proposed, displacing some historic homes.  On April 5th, 2005 a special election was held to decide whether or not to allow the city to authorize construction: 9301 people voted for the project and 7123 voted against it.

Update 7-11 OBP is back in the news. On July 13th a judge ruled that the City illegally granted waviers to the developer in violation of a statute that was voted on in an election in 2005. The judge decreed there should be another election if the terms were to be changed. The City is deciding whether to appeal. OC Register Story. That 2005 election was very costly for the developer.

Update 3-11 Nothing much visable is happening. The site has been graded but no tenants/no construction. The rumor mill says construction will begin in the Summer of 2011. The OBP website is dead.

Update 4-07 Santa Ana Planning Department at WSNA neighborhood meeting: site clearing and preliminary work has begun. Harrah does not have the required percentage of committed tenants yet. Because the project was approved by a vote of the people, it make take another vote to change the terms to allow construction without the required tenants.

Update 11-06 From Jeff Dickman, French Park (against the project)

Subject: OBP Update Good morning all. Yesterday afternoon Joann Rameriz, Thomas Gordon and I met with Vince Fregoso from the City's Planning Department, to discuss Harrah's progress in meeting his list of requirements to proceed with construction of OBP. As most of you are aware, Harrah has received approval for: * Exterior design of the lower portion of OBP * Its Plaza design, and * Parking structure design Regarding the physical site of OBP, Harrah has: * Demolished the Yale Apartments * Demolished the 1960's era building at the corner of Broadway and Tenth * Scarified the top 1 foot of soil of the site, and * Is in process to move the Twist-Basler House Harrah has hired a company to move the house.Analysis continues to focus on the connection of the original house and the later additions. Both the house and its additions are to be relocated to the Tennis Club site per city conditions of approval.

That said, Harrah has not accomplished the following required tasks: * Must still acquire the property at Main and 17th, and Broadway and 17th. (because of Harrah's delay the Gas Station project at Broadway and 17th is proceeding to construction - this means it will cost Harrah more to acquire the site). * Harrah must also acquire the four corners of land at Tenth and Sycamore. (One of the landowners there is the State of California) * Has not placed funds in a trust for other off-site road improvements. (Harrah has until December 1, 2006 to do this. The City likely extend the deadline. If Harrah fails to act by the end of 2007, the City may need to undertake the acquisitions. * Harrah has not proved he has 50% tenancy (Vince says he has not met with Harrah for 4 months - no reason). * Harrah has not submitted site plan (This will require up to 6 months to review - this may push him beyond his summer window for pile-driving to avoid the school year.)

Harrah has 7 years in which to build OBP. He may also seek a 2-year extension to be granted by the city. So far Harrah has not requested any changes to his plan. Changes are almost impossible now since he locked himself to his building footprint and size. Effectively he is stuck with OBP. He can't move the parking garage or change the building's height. There has been no discussion to convert the Tower to residences either. We had hoped the city would pursue changes to address Harrah's illegal handling of the demolition. Vince's reply was that it was a State matter. The city "punted" on this matter even when public health and safety are at risk. This is remains an issue. In conclusion, Harrah has not yet satisfied key requirements to proceed. Other than clearing the site, the city is not processing any plans for the project. Even if the City were reviewing plans, Harrah must demonstrate 50% tenancy and acquire the many properties to accommodate OBP before he could be issued a building permit. I'd guess he is one year away from reaching that goal.


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