Anaheim Planners OK Development Despite Opposition From Angels

A rendering of the proposed development by LT Global.

A $500 million condominium and retail project planned for Anaheim’s Platinum Triangle will go before the City Council in October, after the Planning Commission voted unanimously Monday to approve the development despite vehement opposition from the Angels baseball team.

The Hong Kong-based LT Global Development is proposing a mixed-use project consisting of 405 condominium and apartment units, 77,000 square feet of office space, 583,000 square feet of commercial space and a 200-room hotel.

The plans also include park space available to the public and a “town square” at the center of the development.

A rendering of the "Town Square" at the center of the proposed development by LT Global. Click to enlarge.

A rendering of the “Town Square” at the center of the proposed development by LT Global. Click to enlarge.

The project could be a shot in the arm for the Platinum Triangle, which, before the Great Recession hit, city leaders saw as a catalyst for bringing an urban village concept to the resort district.

However, it faces stiff opposition from Angels owner Arte Moreno, who for years tried to convince the city to agree to a new stadium lease that, for $1 per year, would allow him to develop 155 acres surrounding Angel Stadium.

The parcel, a portion of which is known as the “Stadium District,” is part of the Platinum Triangle footprint. Moreno has held out hope that he could develop the area and use its revenue to make an estimated $130 million to $150 million in renovations to the 47-year-old stadium.

But Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has led a charge against Moreno’s proposed lease, characterizing it as a sweetheart deal for a billionaire baseball team owner that is not in the best interest of taxpayers.

The city has recently re-opened lease negotiations with Moreno after his gambit to strike a stadium deal with the city of Tustin failed.

An approval by the City Council of the LT Global Development proposal could be the death knell to Moreno’s development plans.

In a letter to planning commissioners and city officials, Allan Abshez, an attorney representing the team, said the development would cannibalize existing customers from the stadium’s food and retail businesses, damage the city’s relationship with the Angels and quash any potential plans for a development by Angels Baseball.

Among the actions taken Monday, the Commission voted to move the 14.8 acre property into the Stadium district, reducing the allotment of development entitlements available for future developments.

The Angels’ letter stated that allowing LT Global to enter the Stadium District would mean there would be no room left for their own “sports-entertainment-hotel center” development.

Approving the project “would fundamentally undermine the Angels negotiations to remain in Anaheim over the long term,” Abshez’s letter states.

City spokesman Mike Lyster said that the city is not aware of any plans to build a “sports-entertainment-hotel complex” as described by the Angels.

Tait said the letter was the first time he had heard of such development by the Angels.

“I think it’s a shame that they would send such a letter,” Tait said.

Several executives with Angels Baseball LP spoke against the project at Monday’s meeting.

“From the beginning, we have been very transparent with the City regarding our concerns about Hong Kong-based LT Global’s proposal,” Carpino said in a written statement handed to reporters after the meeting. “The land is zoned residential, and LT purchased it with this zoning entitlement in 2014, any significant change to commercial zoning will irreparably harm the city-owned stadium.”

Carpino wouldn’t answer any questions from reporters about their opposition to the development.

Steve Greyshock, spokesman for LT Global, said the company continues to view the Angels as “great neighbors” and hopes to partner with them in the future. However, the relationship between LT Global and the Angels has been strained from the start. Early on, the LT Global floated a proposal to share 2,000 parking spaces with Angel Stadium, an idea the baseball team rejected.

“We believe it is complementary and indeed beneficial to Angeles Baseball [sic] and all surrounding businesses,” said Greyshock in an email. “Additionally, the Stadium District (the area planned around the Stadium) is designed with more than 3.1 million square feet of food and beverage and retail. We’re simply a small fraction of all of that.”

The company claims that the project will generate nearly $1 billion in economic activity, through new jobs and activity in the area.

Commissioners were unconcerned by the baseball team’s opposition to the project.

“The developments we’ve seen so far, nobody has had the chutzpah to put in what should have been put in before,” said commissioner Michelle Lieberman.

Correction: A previous version of this article misquoted Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait in his response to a letter from Angels Baseball regarding development plans around Angel Stadium. 

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.