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O.C. Fairgrounds on the block for $96 million

August 24, 2010 | 11:50 am

The California Department of General Services on Tuesday placed the Orange County Fairgrounds on sale, according to a notice from state officials.

It was unclear whether the sale spelled the end of a deal brokered between the city of Costa Mesa and a private developer to buy and operate the fairgrounds.

The state issued a request for proposals, which allows interested parties to come forward and make an offer on the fairgrounds.

The sale will take place for a minimum of $96 million in case the state Legislature does not pass the necessary bills that would allow Costa Mesa to go through with the purchase, officials said.

In June, after a few months of exclusive negotiations, the state tentatively accepted the city's $96-million offer.

Costa Mesa has been working nonstop to come up with a financing and operating plan with Facilities Management West, a Newport Beach-based real estate company.

The city is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the ground lease with Facilities Management, one of the last steps it has to take before the sale can be finalized.

The Legislature has until Friday to allow the city to finalize its purchase of the 150-acre fairgrounds. Interested buyers have until Sept. 30th to submit their proposal for the property.

-- Mona Shadia in Orange County