Anaheim Weighs Deal on 4 Acres Near Disneyland : Development: The city needs land for civic expansion. Melodyland’s parcels seem to fit the bill.
The city will consider acquiring two parcels of prime Melodyland property for the possible development of a future transportation center or parking facility to accommodate the expansion of its convention complex.
The city’s interest in the Melodyland Christian Center property, located next to Disneyland and home to a charismatic worship center, comes as the Walt Disney Co. has been spending millions of dollars to lock up surrounding real estate in an apparent attempt to make room for future expansion.
A special meeting has been scheduled for noon Tuesday by council members to decide whether to purchase slightly more than 4 acres east of the landmark theater where religious services and other Melodyland events are staged.
City officials declined to disclose the appraised value of the two parcels, but Disney recently paid about $1.3 million per acre in a December purchase of 23 acres on the site of a former mobile-home park in the 300 block of West Katella Avenue, just south of Melodyland.
With details of Disney’s expansion still a closely kept secret, it is unclear how the plans will affect property values in the area. The entertainment giant is also behind efforts to acquire smaller properties located on Disneyland’s perimeter.
City Manager James Ruth said the city was initially looking to develop the Melodyland property as a parking area to serve Anaheim’s convention complex. The city reportedly needs about 1,200 additional parking spaces to begin a fourth expansion of its convention center.
The parcels are also being considered as a possible site for a city transportation center that would possibly tie in Anaheim’s proposed “people-mover” system or a monorail-type network.
City planners say the inner-city rail, now under study, would link the Anaheim Convention Center with Anaheim Stadium, the proposed Sports Arena, hotels and Disneyland.
“We’re not buying the property for Disney,” Ruth said. “We’re trying to determine whether it is prudent for us to buy (the two parcels) or look at a bigger picture. The reality is that the (convention) expansion must move forward.”
City Councilman Tom Daly said city staffers had been talking “off and on with a group” that included the Rev. Ralph Wilkerson of Melodyland. The pastor reportedly offered the parcels for sale to the city last fall.
City officials, who declined to be named, said Melodyland offered the property to stabilize its own financial position. Wilkerson and other Melodyland officials did not respond to several inquiries made by The Times.
“We’re continually looking for more parking,” Daly said. “The only way to expand the convention center is to find more parking.”
At the same time, Daly said the Melodyland parcels could be a key element in the development of an inner-city transit system.
“Those parcels are opportunities for us for future development of city facilities,” Daly said. “I don’t see a downside to this.”
Including the parcels that may be sold, Melodyland sits on just more than 12 acres.