$96M offered for fairgrounds

Costa Mesa has offered the state $96 million to buy the Orange County Fairgrounds — the minimum that Sacramento is hoping to get from the sale.

The proposal does not state how the cash-strapped city plans to raise enough money to buy the property.

Council members Katrina Foley and Gary Monahan and City Manager Allan Roeder discussed the proposal Wednesday in Sacramento with Fred Aguiar, the governor’s deputy chief of staff.

Foley said the cost of the fairgrounds will be handled through a consortium of private operators.


The city has yet to choose those private operators, Foley said, and a list will be finalized within the next two weeks.

The state put the fairgrounds up for sale as part of a plan to shore up funds, and held a live auction in January.

Although the 150-acre fairgrounds was not appraised, the state Department of General Services, which is in charge of selling the property, estimated that the sale could bring in $96 million to $180 million.

In March, the state rejected all bids. Newport Beach-based Craig Realty Group, an outlet-mall developer, offered $56.5 million, the highest bid.


The city then began negotiating exclusively with the state and was given an April 21 deadline to submit a proposal.