Harrah’s monstrosity ready to break ground in Santa Ana

Bad news for Santa Ana residents. The O.C. Register is reporting that troubled developer Mike Harrah “has picked up city permits to break ground on a nearly vacant lot not far from downtown.”

Here are a few excerpts from the Register article:

Developer Michael Harrah said he’s still several months away from beginning work on the 37-story office tower he calls One Broadway Plaza. The city permits he received only allow him to begin leveling the land and digging a foundation for the huge building.

He still has to relocate the last thing standing on the site, a landmark house that his workers cut into pieces last year in preparation for the move. The old house had to weather last weekend’s rain squalls under black-plastic tarps and a leaky roof.

At first, Harrah predicted that he’d have the necessary leases inked within six months. Then he pushed it back to late 2006, and then to 2007. He now says he’s negotiating with “a couple of major tenants” and expects to begin construction in March or April. The city issued Harrah permits in mid-December to begin grading the lot and working on the foundation for the tower. But those permits note that he cannot even begin building basement walls without further approval.
For now, Harrah’s crews are working a few miles away, near the tennis courts at Cabrillo Park. Under an agreement with the city, Harrah will pay to move the historic Twist-Basler house from the tower site to the park.

Workers cut the 93-year-old house into sections last spring, to get it ready for the move. Preservationists have grown increasingly worried about the house as it sat on the lot, unprotected against the weather except for plastic tarps stretched across its open sides.

The rain storms last weekend left pools of water collecting beneath some of the sections. Members of the city’s Historical Preservation Society have warned that even a small amount of rain dribbling into the house could rot out its old timbers or spread mold across its walls.

“I can just imagine what it looks like inside,” said Alison Young, the president of the society, who had not been able to inspect the house after the most recent storms. “It’s pretty sad. I’m dreading looking into the inside.”

Harrah recently got busted for using illegal immigrants in Hawaii. He also got caught doing illegal asbestos abatement in one of the buildings that was demolished to make way for One Broadway Plaza. I really doubt he is done breaking the law.

Santa Ana Councilwoman was one of the biggest proponents of Harrah’s hideous project. We can retire her by Voting No on Measure D on February 5. Vote No on Measure D!

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