OC GREAT PARK
FIVEPOINT'S COMMITMENT TO
Speakers at the Sports Park preview event included (from left to right) Irvine Planning Commission Chairman Anthony Kuo, CEO and Chairman of FivePoint Emile Haddad, and OC Supervisor Todd Spitzer.
“Today, I can smell progress, I can see progress and I can hear progress.”
The 53-acre first phase includes a soccer stadium with a capacity for 5,000 spectators.
Still to come, a baseball stadium with four dedicated baseball fields and four batting cages.
Plans include a softball complex with a stadium, five fields and four batting cages.
IRVINE'S BIG WIN
As phase one of the new Sports Park is nearing completion, FivePoint is helping fulfill the promise of the Orange County Great Park
By Kedric Francis | October 16, 2016
The grass is growing in green and thick on the new soccer fields at the Orange County Great Park, the sand is raked and nearly ready for beach volleyball matches, and a majority of the tennis courts have already been painted electric blue, matching the color scheme used in U.S. Open tournaments.
Construction of the first phase of the 175-acre City of Irvine Sports Park, at the Great Park, is being managed by FivePoint and is nearing completion.
Members of the media, city and county officials, and FivePoint executives gathered in a historic hangar at the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro base to learn about progress at the Great Park.
Long-time Irvine Councilmember Christina Shea told the audience she was “excited and proud” to see the “hard work” of so many individuals finally delivering this much-needed and sought after public amenity that will be enjoyed by Irvine residents for generations to come.
Executives for the developer say that the 53-acre first phase, which includes a soccer stadium with capacity for 5,000 spectators, 25 tennis courts including a championship center court, six natural sod soccer fields, five beach volleyball courts and a 1-acre playground, will be finished in the first quarter of 2017. It will then be turned over to the City of Irvine to open, own and operate, while FivePoint continues to build additional phases of the sweeping sports complex.
When the entire 175-acre Sports Park reaches the finish line (estimated completion of the full complex is Spring 2018), the Sports Park will be nearly 2 1/2 times the size of Disneyland. Still to come is a baseball complex (with four dedicated baseball fields and 3 multi-purpose fields) and softball complex (with five fields), each of which will include a championship stadium and four batting cages each. Another six synthetic soccer fields will be built as well as “flex fields” totaling 12 acres that can be used for rugby, cricket and lacrosse, and four basketball courts. It promises to be one of the most extensive sports and recreation complexes in the Southwestern United States, anticipated to host youth sports, city recreation programs and lessons, adult leagues, and collegiate competitions.
FivePoint has committed nearly $250 million to develop the 688 acres of the Great Park, including the Sports Park.
“We made a commitment to the City of Irvine to enhance the lives of residents here and throughout Orange County by developing unrivaled sports, recreational and other amenities,” said Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint. “I’m proud to share that we are on schedule in delivering the first phase of this major, multi-sport complex. We elected to invest almost $60 million more than the Irvine City Council required when they chose us as their Great Park partner in November 2013 because we want to enrich this community for generations to come with the highest quality facilities.”
Much of the progress at the Great Park has been unseen, as FivePoint invested $30 million in infrastructure, including the removal of runways and the construction of electrical, drainage and sewer systems to the vast acreage of the Sports Park, but now the first phase’s amenities are obvious to visitors. Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer took the long view of the park’s progress when he spoke at the Sports Park preview gathering.
“I’ve been in this for more than two decades,” Spitzer said. “When I was elected in 1996, the county’s plan was for this to be an international airport. I was elected overwhelmingly because voters asked me to go to the Orange County supervisors and stop this from being an airport. For a long time, I was a minority. We eventually put this to the voters, and we prevailed.”
But for the vision of Orange County voters and the work of many since, there would be an international airport in the heart of Irvine. Hundreds of flights would take off toward the mountains each day, and parking lots would be filled with thousands of cars. Terminals, shipping and fueling facilities would crowd the former base.
Instead, there is open space. There are parks, homes, schools, and sporting fields, and the city is planning additional amenities at the Great Park. To leave the past behind and progress towards development of the great community asset that was promised, the city of Irvine chose FivePoint as its partner in the construction of the Orange County Great Park.
“Today, I can smell progress, I can see progress, and I can hear progress,” Supervisor Spitzer said of the construction at the Sports Park that was ongoing as he spoke. “I would give FivePoint, any day of the week, the ability to develop this property because they are excellent stewards of what’s happened out here.”
Delivered as promised is a new FivePoint slogan revealed at the Great Park gathering.
“It’s a reminder for everyone that works for the company,” Haddad said. “Whether it is a promise made by us, or when we take on the responsibility of delivering a promise made by someone else, we will not rest until that promise is delivered.”