Developer wants to fix Santa Ana’s YMCA building

It almost sounds too good to be true. A developer is offering to fix the “historic but crumbling downtown YMCA building” and give it a “second life as a history center and trade school under a $14 million proposal given to city officials this week.”

The building in question is in downtown Santa Ana. It is a real mess – and needs a lot of asbestos and probably lead abatement, to say the least. Here are a few more excerpts from the O.C. Register’s article about this proposal:

The first floor of the 85-year-old building would house the Orange County Archives and history displays under the proposal. The second and third floors would become office space and classrooms for Taller San Jose, a nonprofit training school for struggling young adults.

A bright, three-story atrium in the center of the building could be used for wedding receptions, community gatherings and other special events.

The proposal is not the first to envision something better for the boarded-up building, the first YMCA facility in Orange County. Developers have talked about using the building for a charter school or a fitness center, even a boutique hotel.

The building, owned by the city, has fallen into such disrepair that city officials have said it will cost more to fix than the property is worth. The plumbing and air systems need work, wires dangle from the ceiling, and the upper floors are caked with droppings from birds nesting in the roof.

Under the latest proposal, the city would give the property to Giachino Development Co. The developers plan to spend at least a year and between $13.5 and $14 million to renovate it.

They would then lease the building to the county archives and Taller San Jose for seven years. After that, the archives and the Taller could buy the property outright.

“The inside of the building is really blown out. There’s not really anything salvageable,” said Jack Dangelo, a managing member of the development company. But, he added: “The bones of the building are fantastic.”

Dangelo and representatives from the archives and Taller San Jose presented the idea to the city’s development committee this week. The committee took no vote on the proposal, and committee members said they wanted at least a month to study the plan.

Interesting. Why are they waiting a month to study this? They sure don’t wait when it comes to projects they want to do, such as recent improvements in the Mayor’s Floral Park Neighborhood. The proposal is a great idea! My guess is that the Santa Ana Council Members are waiting to see how much money they can shake out of the developers…that would be par for the course for the likes of Carlos Bustamante, Claudia Alvarez, Sal Tinajero and Pulido himself.

What I love about the proposal is using the historical building to house historical information, and also letting Taller San Jose use it. This organization does fantastic work to turn around young people’s lives. They deserve whatever help our city can facilitate for them.

It is refreshing to see that there are some decent developers out there, unlike the usual ones that Pulido and company do business with, such as Mike Harrah and Robert Bisno.


Gustavo Arellano, over at the OC Weekly’s Navel Gazing Blog, has discovered that the developer who wants to refurbish the YMCA building has a horrible background. Here is an excerpt from Gustavo’s article:

Simply put, Dangelo is someone who can’t seem to manage his money. Three businesses that the California Secretary of State list Dangelo as their registering agents–Cherry Valley Partners, Dancomm Corp., and the Jack Dangelo Company–remain suspended by the California Franchise Tax Board for failure to pay taxes. Speaking of taxes, public records reviewed by the Weekly show Dangelo was docked with $60,213 in state and federal tax liens in 1996, a debt said records show he wasn’t released from until 2005. Those tax liens probably explain why U.S. bankruptcy court records list four separate filings by Dangelo (once for Chapter 7, thrice for Chapter 13) in the mid-1990s but don’t explain why, in 2004, IRS data reveal he amassed $120,311 in federal tax liens that Dangelo paid off the following year.

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