Is Mike Harrah Cheating at One Broadway Plaza in Santa Ana?

MikeHarrah8.jpg
Michael F. Harrah's towering project swallows a Viagra.
You may recall the last time I addressed the issue of real-estate developer Mike Harrah's contentious efforts to build Orange County's largest commercial building, the proposed 37-story One Broadway Plaza in Santa Ana.


The article detailed how the Santa Ana City Council had given additional public concessions to Harrah and, despite angry claims by city officials otherwise, was likely to give him whatever he wanted in the future. 

None of that was any surprise to those of us who know about Mayor Miguel Pulido and his subservient relationship to Harrah, a wealthy Newport Beach resident and one of Santa Ana's most aggressive developers. Concessions made by Pulido and his council colleagues prompted a lawsuit by local residents who oppose the project and believe the council has made itself shamelessly beholden to Harrah's desires.

Now, the Weekly has learned that Harrah has apparently singlehandedly added four stories and 82,000-square-feet to the proposed building. This is remarkable because, best we can tell, there has not been a single public hearing held to discuss increasing the size of the already-controversial project. In a bitter 2005 election, residents approved plans for a 37-story building.

We learned of the project change not from Pulido or Harrah directly, but rather from an advertisement Harrah placed in the Feb. 14 edition of Barron's. He wants, he says in the ad, additional investors to participate in One Broadway Plaza, which he describes as "a 41-story, 612,000 [-square-foot], world-class office tower . . . 16 years in the making with all the [government] entitlements and all building permits in place."

The city continues to list the project as 37 stories, as does Harrah's website.

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Harrah's ad for One Broadway Plaza in Barron's

Harrah, the owner of the popular Original Mike's restaurant and someone who is never shy about his greatness, described himself in the ad as the "most prominent real-estate force in the largest city in Orange County, fifth largest U.S. county."

Interestingly, the multimillionaire, who posed poor to get a long list of taxpayer concessions from OC's poorest residents, reports he'll own a $600 million building when it's complete, thanks in part to "substantial pre-lease interest from government-related tenants."

Numerous efforts this morning to reach Harrah or Pulido for comment were not successful.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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14 comments
cook
cook

Not a shove full of dirt has been turned, at the city council meeting he last spoke, he said if it was not started by christmas, then on the shelve it goes for 2 years to wait out the DA with the city. All of the extra's the city got in the DA goes away.

The street lights and School zone drop off should have already been completed, as they are part of the EIR. The city should either make Mike take care of those items now, or the city should take care of them for him and attach a lien on the property.

How much money are the taxpayers in Santa Ana on the hook for, For the Female motorcycle cop who did the face plant because the stop light has not been put in at 15th and Main as listed in the EIR?

Mico
Mico

First Floor, Political Consulting Kickback Offices. Next 20 Floors, State welfare offices. Next 20 Floors, Corporate money laundering firms. Sounds too good to be true.

booper
booper

This appears to be a fine mess. I am pro-business, but I certainly see some problems here. Rick Reiff, where are u? You need to interview Mike Harrah and let me explain himself (or not).

Art
Art

One fact that still remains is that in the construction trade have been hit the hardest by this recession in the US, and no matter what, I believe that the possitives out way the negatives in this case. This project will bring so many jobs for people in construction. And unless they can come up with some other project that will bring that many jobs here, Im for the building of this tower. This will help the city's economy in the sort run and the long run. But if we werent in desperate need of jobs then I might reconsider my choice.

junior
junior

This ad in Baron's indicates to me that Mikey Harrah is a bit short on funding his monstrosity. It will probably never be built - it is not financially feasible. The lack of a viable traffic corridor to service this mess to freeways is another killer to this boondoggle.

Dress Mikey up as Don Quixote charging at his OBP with a windmill attached. Dress he SA council up as ......

 thecoloneljames
thecoloneljames

I'm sure the old " Building Inspector Handshake" took place between Mr. Harrah and Mayor Pulido.

Just sayin'.

Gordo
Gordo

Everyone knows Pulido is a crook as well as this Harrah character

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Why do we care? It's Stabba Ana for christ's sake.

Mikey
Mikey

We voted for 37 stories not 41. He was supposed to had a 60 % occupancy guarantee but the city desided without even talking to the citizens that they would remove that requirement acording to an article I read a month or so ago. At this point i think the should Hang Harrah and the City Counsel out to dry and make the whole prosess start over. and see if he gets the voters approval again. I don't thing he will.

booper
booper

Oops, I meant let HIM explain himself. I can't speak for him, but hopefully he can.

Mcewen1
Mcewen1

So, you believe no matter how bad a project is, how unrealistic, or damaging to a community, it is OK because it brings temporary jobs

Dhondo
Dhondo

Learn how to spell Mikey. You're an idiot.

Anon
Anon

It's Pedroza shilling for the city council for the six grand paid to him. Where is his buddy Sean Mill? Asleep at the switch on the planning commission. When are the federal marshals coming to seize his hard drive and drag him away in handcuffs?

anon
anon

Hey spelling Nazi, if you take issue with Mikey's argument, or if you'd like to expound on it, have at it. Otherwise, stop taking up valuable cyber-space and go away.

Or whatcha gonna do, tell me how you have a right to say what you said? Yeah, you do have a right to look petty and small.

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