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Farm Was Proposed Site for Sports Arena : 'Urban Village' May Rise in Santa Ana

January 22, 1987|ANDY ROSE | Times Staff Writer

Santa Ana officials once hoped that a sports arena might rise from the furrowed earth of Sakioka Farms' 53 acres northeast of Main Street and MacArthur Boulevard, but adamant opposition from nearby residents killed that scheme.

Now, seven months later, a plan to build an "urban village'--a mix of offices, shops, homes and recreation facilities--has received preliminary approval from the city's Redevelopment Agency. It is a plan that area residents say is a little more to their liking.

BGS Partners, composed of BCE Development Inc. and Griffin Realty Corp., both in Newport Beach, and some members of the Sakioka family were given six months' exclusive rights by the city to negotiate a final agreement on the prime land, said Cynthia Nelson, director of the city's Community Development Agency. Nelson said that a specific plan for development, an environmental study and financing must all be completed before the City Council considers final approval.

The development, tentatively named MacArthur Place, is planned for the 53-acre Sakioka property and an adjacent 13-acre parcel owned by Emerson Electric Co. Hutton Center, an upscale office-hotel-restaurant complex, is located south of the site and there are residential areas to the west and southwest.

Two Meetings With Residents

Roger Torriero, president of Griffin Realty, said a ballpark figure on the project's worth would be about $600 million. He said, however, that it would take 15 to 20 years to build the entire project and that an exact figure could not be tallied.

The developer already has held two meetings with residents in the area to avoid the conflict that arose over plans for the Westdome, a 20,500-seat arena now being planned for a site next to Anaheim Stadium.

Richard Merritt, a vocal opponent of the arena plan, said Torriero's approach with the urban village project will do a lot to appease the residents.

"He's trying to do it right this time. He's meeting with the neighborhood people to make sure that he can satisfy their concerns," Merritt said. "Of course, he's not going to satisfy the ones who are anti-development. But people who look at that site and realize that development is inevitable can live with a good plan there."

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