The Orange County Great Park is owned by the City of Irvine. The 1,300 acres are part of the former U.S. Marine base that operated in Irvine until June 1999. Of that 1,300 acres, a public-private partnership with FivePoint is underway to develop parkland. This public-private partnership involves 688 acres. Of that 688 acres, in August 2017, the first phase of the 194-acre Sports Park opened. The opening involved 53 acres.
It is anticipated that nearly all 688 acres will be completed by the end of 2019, with one component, a golf course, into 2020.
A second public-private partnership in another area of the Orange County Great Park is the Community Ice Facility, a $100 million, 270,000-square-foot, four-sheets-of-ice project that opens in fall 2018 on 13.5 acres of City land. It is being paid for and will be maintained and operated by an affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. It will be the largest public ice facility in California and one of the largest in the country.
From the City of Irvine’s point of view:
There are very few fully funded 194-acre sports parks opening anywhere, and our first phase opened in August 2017.
- The first phase, of 53 acres, includes 25 tennis courts, including a championship court with seating. The first phase also includes seven natural turf fields and a Soccer Stadium that can seat 5,000 spectators. The first phase also includes five sand volleyball courts and a Children’s Play Area.
- When the 194-acre Sports Park is completed, there will be 13 new soccer/lacrosse fields.
- The 194-acre Sports Park will have 12 baseball and softball fields, each with one championship stadium, with the stadiums and fields opening in spring/summer of 2018.
- FivePoint is spending up to $250 million to complete the 688 acres, which will include a golf course, a mile-long trail, a wildlife corridor, and a second Children’s Play Area. FivePoint, in return, has received entitlement from the City Council to build several thousand additional homes on its privately owned land near the Great Park.
- Part of the 688 acres includes an urban agricultural area, to be updated, of more than 70 acres overseen by A.G. Kawamura, a third-generation farmer who is the former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
- A portion of the Great Park has been open for several years, including the Palm Court Arts Complex, Great Park Balloon, the carousel, playing fields, Visitors Center, Walkable Timeline, and the historic Hangar 244. Large events are routinely held here, including the 2013 and 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, and Cirque du Soleil, as well as regularly scheduled events such as the weekly Farmers Market.
When complete, the Great Park will be home to the fourth-largest multisport complex in the country at 472 acres. However, more than half of the 1,300 acres is or will be non-sports related. A number of cultural and entertainment components will be planned in the near future for the City-owned 223-acre Cultural Terrace within the Great Park. In that future, 223-acre Cultural Terrace, identified priority uses that would need to be approved by the City Council are a permanent amphitheater, lake, museums, and a library.