Another Redevelopment Fiasco That Refuses to Die

Friends of Fullerton’s future have read many pages on this site dedicated to cataloguing the manifest failures of Redevelopment and all the attendant boondoggles it brings with it. Blind support for these disasters is one of the reasons The Three Blind Brontosauruses are being recalled. One of the biggest disasters-in-the-making is the lamentable “Amerige Court” project, another gigantic monster to be plopped down into Fullerton, and a totally staff-created and driven mess.

Naturally Bankhead and Jones have supported this gross example of corporate welfare that we end up paying for. McKinley is bound to go along for the ride.   When he does we’ll be sure to let you know about it. Here is an update.

By Judith Kaluzny as published in The Fullerton Observer

The Amerige Court proposal is not dead yet.   The council will vote December 5, 2011, whether to extend a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) first approved February 7, 2006,  the third amended version having been approved by council March 4, 2008.

Since then, two extensions requested by developer Pelican Laing /Fullerton LLC (a Delaware corporation) were granted by staff June 2010 by Rob Zur Schmiede, executive director of the Redevelopment Agency (RDA), and April 1, 2011, by Joeseph Felz, acting executive director.

Meantime, the Laing portion of the Pelican-Laing developers, had been purchased in June 2006 by a company in the mideast country of Dubai, and Laing subsequently filed for bankruptcy in February 2009.

“Amerige Court,” described as “mixed-use development with up to 124 residential units and as much as 30,000 square feet of commercial area” was to be located on the north and south parking lots in the 100 block of West Amerige.  At one time, the project was to be nine stories high on the south side of Amerige, with a five story parking structure on the north side of the street.

A Draft Environmental Impact Report was prepared in 2008 and concluded that there were “no potentially significant impacts that cannot be mitigated.”

Richard Hamm of Pelican Properties said recently, “It has been impossible to make any progress with the project since the State has attempted to end redevelopment.  Of course, the economy has not helped.

“We have four companies waiting in the wings to join us in Amerige Court. We want to get the extension to the DDA as well as a few details worked out with Redevelopment before going forward with a new partner. Amerige Court is still a great opportunity. Downtown Fullerton is still a great place (despite the recent events).

Points in the original contract included:

-Giving $5.5 million from a $6 million bond issue to Pelican Properties to build the parking garage.  The bonds were to  be paid back by the residents and businesses in the new development.  That will cause the businesses to cost $1.93 per square foot more than any other retail space downtown according to the city’s consultant, Keyser Marsten Associates, which advised the city to do “more due diligence” before they entered into this contract.

-The land Pelican will be given the by the  city was not appraised, but agreed as being worth $8 to $8.5 million.

-A guarantee of 10% profit to Pelican on the project.  Pelican can submit a new budget before escrow closes.  If that does not show they will get a 10% profit, they can withdraw from the project.  However, at that point, the redevelopment agency can volunteer to pay the required profit to Pelican.  The Executive Director of the Redevelopment Agency can do this without further input from the city council/redevelopment agency.

-Tearing down the historic properties on the southeast corner of Malden and Amerige Avenues.

[The DDA and amendments are a maze of turgid language:  The Third Amendment provides for a “future amendment,” but if  “a Future Amendment is not approved by Developer and the Agency Board (city council) by April 5, 2009, or such later date as may be approved by the parties in the sole and absolute discretion of each of them, either party shall have the right to terminate the DDA… .”

[The third amended DDA also includes the following language: “However, the Entitlements have not been approved as Agency has not approved the Project or any other project for the Property.  The parties acknowledge that this Third Amendment does not constitute the third amendment that was contemplated under the Second Amendment.”]

Begun in 2001 with a “rendering” commissioned by Paul Dudley, then Director of Development, and shown to city council members in closed session, it has been said that this was a scheme to get more parking for the bars/restaurants downtown.  (In December 2002, restaurants downtown were exempted from having to provide parking or to obtain conditional use permits.)

FFFF has argued for years that this grossly subsidized monstrosity should be killed outright. As I noted, above, the extension of this agreement will become another issue in the upcoming recall campaign: a perfect example of corporate welfare of the type that has characterized massive subsidized apartment blocks in downtown Fullerton already approved by Bankhead and Jones over the years.

49 Replies to “Another Redevelopment Fiasco That Refuses to Die”

  1. Wait for all the redevelopment parasites to emerge, praising this wonderful new addition to downtown Fullerton.

  2. There’s a chance to kill it once and for all by refusing to extend the development agreement. The developer hasn’t been able to come with the cash, so let them go. The Dinosaurs will insist on giving away public land for a song anyway. Let them know what it will cost them in the recall election.

  3. Hard to understand how this development was allowed to built right on top of Whiting ave to stop thru traffic. Another problem street for thru traffic in the downtown is Amerige ave in the back of city hall. When the police dept. was renovated Amerige was turned into a one way street to accomodate more parking spaces.After the redevelopment was done it still remains that way forcing east bound traffic through the city hall parking lot with a right turn only at highland.

  4. For those of you so inclined, you may want to follow the big money that Pelican Laing has already showered on our city councilman by looking through the “Caliornia Form 460 which is the campaign disclose form that’s available on the City of Fulleton website under the City Clerk file.
    I guarantee you’ll find out why the city councilman vote the way that they do, which IMHO is without regard for the welfare of the residents of Fullerton.

  5. Amerige Court is an unadulterated piece of shit and, amazingly, manages to metastasize into something worse with every crackpot iteration. First there was going to be an underground parking lot because no one wants to look at another concrete edifice to citystaff’s stupidity, but then ‘old people’ or something were scared to park underground because, I don’t know, maybe they thought it would just become some huge undergourd cistern for bar patrons’ piss and vomit. Good point, back to the above ground edifice to city staff stupidity. Ever wonder why these hacks didn’t show you elevations of the new proposed structures next to the ones that exist downtown? It’s because your head would explode at the sheer scale of this Independence Day size shitheap towering over the surroundings.

    Hopefully the fatal and final blow to redevelopment agencies statewide will be struck in January.

  6. from FFFF blog “recall campaign: a perfect example of corporate welfare of the type that has characterized massive subsidized apartment blocks in downtown Fullerton already approved by Bankhead and Jones over the years.”

    You mean those over-priced, townhouses and apartments that squat in the middle of the transportation hub also known as the bus and train station and next to the electrical substation. wow! I don’t understand why more people don’t want to pay half a million to live in that government subsidized enterprise?

    1. van, the Soco Walk condos were not subsidized by the Fullerton redevelopment agency. They are all market rate units. It’s probably the only project in downtown Fullerton that is market driven.

  7. The Las Vegas Fullerton fault system runs right under the proposed site. There is also and underground satanic worship temple with tunnels that lead to the police station right underneath as well. They should build it somewhere else.

  8. What’s with the guaranteed profit of 10% and who is watching the books? This is a taxpayer funded project. When did guaranteed profits arrive inthe constrution industry?? 🙂

  9. Hey Tony,
    Could you tell everyone here about your involvement with the Soco Walk project? Did you work w Redevelopment selling all your run down properties to the City? Please…do tell.

        1. Pre-Soco, why dont you start it, I dont fully understand the whole redevelopment thing-you seem to know, maybe you can enlighten me so I can have some intelligent understanding when he responds


        2. Sure, I’ll respond. Even to a troll like you.

          I didn’t develop that project. My family sold the developer the land.

          1. Pre-Soco- well that thars an answer for ya, Shoot, it seems like you didnt actually know what you was talkin about after all.

            you were lookin for an answer from Tony, waznt ya? Best get your stories right first or you just made yourself look like a dang fool

            1. Thank you for your short answer Tony. A much as you want to wipe your hands free of any involvement with redevelopment, you were a big part of this soco project going forward and benefited greatly.

              All those low income families who were ignorant to renters rights, that lived in your slumlord properties, that you neglected for years knowing you were going to cash out on this project are asking, “when did tony start caring about fullerton and its residents?” I guess you care when issues arise north of commonwealth…

              1. Pre-Soco, you sound like a squalling baby sitting on the floor in a diaper full of babysh*t. Why don’t you quit whining about someone else’s business and take care of your own before you have to declare bankruptcy.

              2. Wrong again, troll. That was not a City Redevelopment project. I know of no “renter’s rights” as you call them that were violated, but that’s an issue between you and the Olson Company who developed the SoCo Walk.

                Good luck with that!

                1. I guess I have to go back and do some more research then. Whatever happened to your old handymen Tony? You know, the homeless one and the other w only one good eye….weeeird

                  Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. You Fullertonians have become weird. You want to stop nice development in the Coyote Hills and then turn downtown Fullerton into a mini-downtown LA.

    You have everything backwards. When the Amerige brothers came to the area, they chose Harbor and Commonwealth as the center for the new town because this was where the mustard grew tallest, indicating that it was the most biologically productive land. They knew farming operations around this spot would be successful. The Coyote Hills, they saw as a relative biological wasteland. Who knew it had oil and who knew that in the future, people would have cars and want view lots?

    Screw the Coyote Hills and save downtown Fullerton. Or do you think that it is good that 90% of the population live in stacked boxes on top of the bars and railroad tracks while the likes of the FPD strictly keeps them in line?

      1. history doesn’t speak, idiot. And, who doesn’t look out for their pocketbook, idiot? Tony’s blog stands for justice, and that’s good enough for me, idiot.

      2. If I were just interested in my “pocketbook” I would have been much better off supporting the Three Nincompoops on the council and throwing money at them.

        That’s how you succeed in Fullerton and that’s why downtown Fullerton has become an overdeveloped, booze-soaked free for all.

        Go ahead and chatter on. Nobody’s buying the Ackerman talking points.

  11. Wait til January. Then celebrate after the Supreme Court puts the RDA’s state wide out of business. Another 10,000 or so public workers will hit the unemployment rolls.

  12. Print   Email Font Resize
    Fontana police win council approval to purchase helicopter

    Jim Steinberg, Staff Writer
    Created: 11/22/2011 08:37:32 PM PST

    Robinson Helicopter Co. makes this R66 turbine-powered model. A police version will be released next year. (Courtesy photo)
    FONTANA – The City Council on Tuesday night voted 5-0 in favor of a Police Department proposal to buy an almost-new Robinson R44 Police Edition helicopter for $415,000 and spend an additional $85,000 to install more advanced equipment on it.
    Asset seizure funds obtained during arrests in drug cases will be used to finance the acquisition.

    Before the vote, Leo Bell, owner of California Aviation Services in Riverside, which has provided police helicopter services to Fontana for nine years, said he questioned some of the expense items presented in the Police Department’s budget for its helicopter program.

    “I could not operate for some of the costs stated in that budget,” he said.

    Fontana resident Craig Johnson objected to the use of drug asset seizure funding to finance the acquisition.

    “Nobody should profit from crime,” he said.

    Before the meeting, Police Chief Rodney Jones said one of the allowed uses of drug seizure funds is to purchase police aviation equipment.

    Jones said he envisions the Fontana helicopter program would go regional with participation by Colton and Rialto police.

    High-ranking officials from both of those departments attended the council meeting but did not speak.

    Jones said that by owning its own helicopter and expanding its service footprint to other cities, Fontana stood a better change of obtaining grant funds to help defray operating expenses.

    Robinson Helicopter Co.


    in Torrance has recently developed a more powerful turbine engine model called the R66.
    The first R66 Police Edition will be released in July. Jones said before the council meeting he would also like to purchase one of those because it can fly with more weight.

    Its more powerful turbine engine will help it retain lift power on hot days, something which pilots in R44s must carefully monitor, he said.

    The Police Department will receive “financial incentives” for that purchase because it will be one of the first departments to buy one, Jones said.

    Even with those incentives, the helicopter will cost about $1.1 million.

    Jones said he plans to tap the asset seizure fund to get a $300,000 down payment on the R66 and take a 15-year lease that will cost $72,000 annually.

    The department would likely pay off the lease to own the helicopter outright within three years. The source for the lease payment and the helicopter’s purchase would be asset money, Jones said.

    Jones said he wants two helicopters because of the significant downtime needed for maintenance and overhauls.

    The Fontana Police Department’s helicopter contract with California Aviation Services costs $497,250 per year.

    The company provides an R44 helicopter and its pilot while the Fontana Police Department provides an officer as an observer.

    Jones said the more powerful R66 would allow a third person in the cockpit, allowing its mission to include firefighting observation and command.

    In situations where quick response is needed to a large fire, an observer from the Fire Department could accompany the police observer, Jones said.

    “The helicopter allows us to do more with less,” Jones said.

    “At a time of decreased staffing, the need for an aviation program can not be overstated,” he also said. “On average, the helicopter is first on the scene 66 percent of the time. On many calls, this alleviates the need for any type of patrol response.”

    By owning its own helicopters, annual recurring costs from the general fund would amount to $489,333 annually, some $10,000 less than the city pays California Aviation Services, Jones said.

    Return to Top  

    1. What a joke. Every budget is strained and here is an idiot rod jones police chief who wants a ridiculous toy. Fontana should be ashamed for wasteful spending.

    2. The Fontana cops have a corrupt department if they are buying a stupid helicopter in this day and economic age. How can they afford a toy that is so expensive? Maybe they should listen to the guy who told them they were too low in cost. Seems to me like chief jones just wants a helicopter ride on the taxpayers dime!

      1. It’s another discussion we hit briefly on FFFF. Asset forfeiture money. It’s coming out police department’s brains because there is so much of it. It’s the only thing left to buy good, new, technologically advanced equipment. SWAT Rigs, Helicopters, etc. The drug trade is getting bigger by the day and so is the asset forfeiture accounts.

        1. The only problem is how out of proportion the salaries and pensions have gotten; why not invest some of the seizure money there (besides the obvious lol)?

          Jokes aside, you could allocate 19-30% of that coin and make a difference toward the tax payer burden…just a thought.

          1. Agree. Would be great. Federal law dictates how it can be spent. Pretty strict regulations. I guess the other problem would be budgeting because it’s not consistent so you couldn’t budget that $5,000,000 would come in and then it doesn’t and you claim bankruptcy.

  13. Pre-Soco Walk :
    I guess I have to go back and do some more research then. Whatever happened to your old handymen Tony? You know, the homeless one and the other w only one good eye….weeeird
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Yeah. When “research” fails, just lie. That’s where the slimy trajectories of Andrew Goodlie and “Dick” Ackerslime meet.

  14. Reality Is :
    Agree. Would be great. Federal law dictates how it can be spent. Pretty strict regulations. I guess the other problem would be budgeting because it’s not consistent so you couldn’t budget that $5,000,000 would come in and then it doesn’t and you claim bankruptcy.

    Hence my (besides the obvious) part of that comment. But the other part (acknowledging that it is there and allocating 10-30%) would make sense, no?

    Spin it any way you want but there is money there that LE could use more practically; I chose 10-30% simply because it is a reasonable forcast. 😉

    1. For sure. They should. Every PD would love that. Times have changed. PDs need that flexibility to use it on budgeted items.

      1. OK. So there ya go. Will you push for it or at least bring it up with your department? You have more of a voice there than I do.

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