County Accepts 60 Acres of El Toro Land for Lease to Businesses

Orange County is now set to acquire 60 acres at the former El Toro Marine base that it plans to develop and lease to businesses.

The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday took a final step toward receiving the mostly empty land from Irvine with the approval of an official transfer. The land constitutes the bulk of a 100-acre planned transfer to the county of property along the southwest edge of El Toro.

The property includes large warehouse-type buildings, smaller buildings and open grassland beside a Metrolink railroad track.

The county’s intent is to improve the property and lease it to private businesses, thus generating new tax revenue.

In July, county supervisors chose Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises to develop the land and seek tenants. The relationship was formalized Tuesday with the approval of a yearlong exclusive contract with Lowe for master planning and development. The contract can be extended a further nine months.

What the county would do with the bonus revenue isn’t yet clear. It could be routed into the general fund or designated for a specific cost like health care or parks.

A staff report says that acquiring the land will cost the county only about $4,000 for insurance and escrow fees. The original deal was struck between Irvine and the county in 2003.