By OC Board of Supervisors Chairperson Lisa Bartlett
The County of Orange owns almost 3,000 parcels of land, including park land, flood control parcels and government buildings. Some of these parcels are vacant and/or underutilized, and the county has not yet addressed which parcels should be developed.
While the county provides projects on some of these properties, it often takes way too long, and we know that many times great ideas of what these parcels could be come from the private sector and community.
Working with our real estate team, I invited nearly 300 local experts in development to the first-ever County Real Estate Developer’s Symposium, and I challenged them to bring creative ideas to the county for the vacant parcels and create a partnership with us through the use of Public- Private Partnerships (P3).
The symposium featured myself, Board of Supervisors colleague Andrew Do, as well as county staff of our Real Estate and Public Works Departments. We also invited some of our current P3 partners to speak: Bryon Ward from Burnham Ward; Dan Young, the former president of Irvine Company Community Development and current Mind OC board member; and Laura Archuleta from Jamboree Housing. They spoke of their great experiences of working with the county on public-private partnerships.
Through P3 projects, the county has had great success in revitalizing and developing our communities in a way that provides a community benefit while creating a long-term revenue stream for the county.
- Dana Point Harbor—In October of last year, after 20 years, we officially signed the master lease agreement with Dana Point Harbor Partners, allowing the long-awaited Dana Point Harbor Revitalization project to move forward. This $330 million-plus P3 will bring enhanced amenities to the community in a fiscally responsible manner. Working with our P3 partners, the Harbor will be completely revitalized with a new commercial core, fully rebuilt docks, two new hotels, and public amenities throughout the development.
- Laguna Niguel Town Center—The new city center in Laguna Niguel, a partnership between the County of Orange and Laguna Niguel Town Center Partners, LLC, will be the example for surrounding cities on how we can all work together to expand our local economies and bring a welcomed mix of housing, dining, and entertainment options to residents. The proposed development plan is anticipated to generate approximately $196 million in revenue to the county over the 79-year lease term. The new city center will provide a food-focused destination for locals and foodies to find curated culinary delights.
- BeWell OC—Mental health has been a growing concern across the state and impacts everyone. We have worked with key stakeholders, including the hospitals, service providers, public safety departments and the public/consumers of services to identify gaps in the county’s mental health system. This collaborated effort became the P3 that is now the MindOC initiative. In January, the Board of Supervisors approved $16.6 million for the creation of a regional mental health and wellness campus that will be located in the City of Orange on Anita Drive. This is the first of three campuses MindOC will open—one in each region of the county. The Anita Wellness Campus will be a first of its kind mental health service campus that will improve the quality of life for all those in Orange County struggling with mental health issues. This Public-Private Partnership is key to serving the mental health needs of all residents across Orange County.
Orange County is open for business, and we want to leverage our assets to provide outstanding services and programs to the taxpayers. This is a great example of county government working innovatively and smart.
Lisa Bartlett is the chairperson of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. She was reelected in 2018.