What’s up with Willowick?

The Santa Ana Chivas

R.E.D. (real estate diversion) Alert

Willowick golf course and greens is the oldest public golf course in Orange County. It opened in 1930. The course is owned by the city of Garden Grove, yet is located within the borders of the city of Santa Ana. Garden Grove purchased Willowick in 1964 and for the first time turned a profit in 1975 after reorganizing the course and adding a driving range.

During a study last year, Willowick’s future was discussed by the GG city council. According to public records, Willowick nets GG approximately $600,000 a year in revenues. At the time of the discussions, GG was considering changing the use of the land to a theme park. Fast forward to June, 2008.

According to a recent L.A. Times article, Santa Ana’s Mayor Miguel Pulido is in talks with the Chivas USA soccer team, to determine if the old Willowick golf course could be converted into soccer fields and a youth soccer program. (Editor’s Note: See the picture above – for the uninformed, Chivas means goats in Spanish).

Per the Times article: The Carson-based team’s co-owner, Antonio Cue, said the proposed youth soccer facility could include as many as seven soccer fields and a 2,000 to 3,000-seat stadium at Willowick, now a 102-acre golf course on the city’s western border with Garden Grove. But a detailed proposal is months away.

Cue did not rule out that the site could eventually be a permanent home for the professional team. “We’re only talking right now about the youth, we haven’t thought about moving the team,” Cue said. “We’re open to possibilities, but not in the short term.”

~~Snip~~ Edgar Vazquez, president of InterAmerica, one of Santa Ana’s largest adult soccer leagues, said he didn’t think Chivas USA had reached the level of renown to carry out such an ambitious soccer center just yet.

“Their popularity is not going to come overnight,” he said, also questioning the motives of the team. “Our community is not going to receive anything back from this. They’re just trying to make money.”

But the proposal is complicated by the fact that the golf course is owned by neighboring Garden Grove. That city is already negotiating with Santa Ana and Hard Rock International to develop a music-themed amusement park on a portion site.

Willowick Golf Course has long been on the radar of politicians and entrepreneurs, who’ve envisioned grandiose, yet quick-to-evaporate projects, including a National Football League stadium and a Latin American-themed amusement park called Las Americas.


Meanwhile, Million $$$$ Homes (17 custom homes) built nearby, called Willowick Greens, are now selling below $900,000 and are located in one of Santa Ana’s seediest parts of town. These homes range over 3,000 square feet each and the speculated target group would be multigenerational asian families. The surrounding areas have been described by some as being one of the worst areas of the city.

According to a recent OJ article, Mayor Pulido’s state of the City speech included some designs on the Willowick Golf Course. Hey, wait a second….. doesn’t Garden Grove own it?

Just what is up with Willowick?

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