The City Council has approved the sale of five acres of city-owned land just north of the Civic Center complex.
Saddleback Land Development Co. will pay $2.1 million for the property, which the city bought in 1975 for $425,000. It is now leased to a strawberry farmer.
Although a dozen information packages were sent to developers and consultants and 10 more to others who requested them, the city received only three bids. Saddleback's was by far the best offer. The second-highest offer was $1.5 million from D.R. Horton Inc.; the low bid was $1.1 million from Tone Yee Investments and Developments.
The council declared the land surplus in January, when estimated losses in the county bond fiasco were less certain. The city had $20.7 million in the investment pool and, under the settlement, expects to recoup about 90% this fiscal year, so the land sale should make up almost its entire loss.
In a related action Tuesday, the council approved a zoning change that will allow developer Saddleback to build up to 10 homes per acre. The property previously was zoned for commercial and office uses.