The Orange County Great Park spans approximately 1,300 acres, with more than 200 acres developed and 688 fully funded acres in planning and design phases. Upon completion, it will join America’s inventory of national treasures and set a new standard for great metropolitan parks around the world.
Please see below for information on current and upcoming projects at the Great Park. For a copy of the monthly development updates provided to the Orange County Great Park Board, including past updates, visit the Key Documents page. For a map of future plans for the Great Park, visit the Great Park Tomorrow webpage.
Visitors Center Plaza Rehabilitation
Preliminary design has begun on an update of the hardscape and infrastructure in the existing Visitors Center Plaza, with plans to integrate with the newly opened Sports Complex and evaluate relocation of the Carousel. The project will move forward in coordination with the construction of the Great Park Administration Building. Completion of construction documents for a public bid process is expected in the second quarter of 2020. The project budget is $3,860,000.
Great Park Administration Building & Parking
The project replaces temporary operation trailers, and provides design and construction administration services for the development of administrative and operational space for City of Irvine Community Services and Irvine Police Department teams at the Great Park. A needs assessment and site location is complete, and schematic design is under review by the City. The next phase will include refinement of the drawings, with an updated project cost and schedule leading to the final design phase. Construction is estimated to begin mid-2021. The project is in the design phase, with a budget of $25 million.
Western Sector: Development Partner Projects
Pretend City Children's Museum
The proposed facility will develop five acres of land and a 55,500-square-foot facility in the Western Sector on the Civic Site. As part of the second amendment to the ALA II, FivePoint will deliver a graded pad for Pretend City. Pretend City has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) and will select a design architect, while capital campaign is ongoing. The project is in the predevelopment phase, with a budget of $30 million funded through First 5 Orange County funds and a capital campaign. First 5 has provided a $5.5 million grant, and half of the $5 million target from private donors has been raised as of October 2020. Concept plans are expected by April 2021, and construction is estimated in 2023.
Balloon Lawn Playground
As part of the ALA II Modification 1 approved by the Great Park Board in April 2019, the Sports Complex playground was relocated from the area between the Championship Soccer Stadium and the Tennis Complex to a central area next to the Balloon along the Visitors Center. The project is complete.
FivePoint Pop-Up Village
Approved in August 2019, seven repurposed cargo containers will be installed adjacent to sports park to provide 10,000 square feet of small dining spaces, storage, and restrooms.
Western Sector: Infrastructure Developments
The Second Amendment to the ALA II provided a framework and access to funding to develop, in partnership with FivePoint, three facilities in the Western Sector: USA Water Polo, a field house, and parking structure to replace the Festival Lot and support new facilities in the Western Sector. City staff and FivePoint have begun refining the design concepts for the City-owned projects and discussing the operation and maintenance of the facilities.
This project add two new sports facilities – a water polo and community pool facility and a field house for indoor basketball and volleyball training and competitions – and a new centrally located parking structure to serve the western side of the Great Park. These improvements were approved in concept by the Orange County Great Park Board and City Council on October 22, 2019. An addendum to the Orange County Great Park is being prepared to analyze the environmental impacts from the proposal. The project will be presented to the Planning Commission on May 7 to solicit public comments, and will return to the Great Park Board on May 26. This project is in design phase and is estimated to cost $250 million.
Great Park Improvement Area: Proposed Projects
Western White Water
Multiple public outreach surveys regarding development in the Great Park identified the public’s desire for unstructured family-oriented outdoor recreation opportunities. On October 24, 2017, the Great Park Board directed staff to begin development discussions with Western Whitewater Works for the development of a 35-acre facility that would offer trails, rock climbing, and adventure water sport activities, among others.
California Fire Museum and Safety Learning Center (CFM-SLC)
The proposed facility will develop approximately 30,000 square feet of educational and museum space on five acres. Great Park staff and CFM-SLC team members are continuing to work to complete items in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Great Park Board members designated a location for the museum adjacent to the Bosque Trail, north of Great Park Boulevard, adjacent to the Public Safety Joint Training Facility at its March 24 meeting. Capital campaigning is underway. The project is in the predevelopment phase, with a design budget of $25 million. A design proposal is due by the end of 2020 (timeline is subject to change).
Public Safety Joint Training Facility
As part of the Orange County Fire Authority Settlement, $20 million in funds were set aside for the development of a joint police and fire training facility. The project will include relocation of the Emergency Operations Center, and provide new indoor and outdoor instructional facilities on a 40-acre site adjacent to the 5-acre CFM-SLC development. The Great Park Board designated a location near the southeast intersection of Irvine Boulevard and the Bosque Trail at its March 24 meeting. Next steps include: identifying cost for total project, identifying phasing and supplemental funding opportunities, and proceeding with design and construction drawings. The project is currently in the predevelopment phase, with a project budget of $20.5 million.
State Veterans Cemetery
The Great Park Board and Irvine City Council on July 23, 2019, designated 100 acres of land in the former Golf Course Site to the State of California for a State Veterans Cemetery. Staff are taking the necessary regulatory steps to designate the identified property, and City management is working with the State of California to expedient the review of the location and identify the next steps in the development of the Southern California State Veterans Cemetery. The governor has placed $700,000 in his budget proposal to pay specifically for site evaluation, and the project budget is approximately $59 million. As of October 27, 2020, technical studies were being prepared, with an anticipated completion date of May 2021. For more information, visit the City's Veterans Cemetery webpage here.
Botanical gardens have been a consistent presence in the planning of the Orange County Great Park, and have been included in varying locations and sizes since the 2007 Master Plan. In 2017, the City conducted a feasibility study for a 60-acre Botanical Garden in the Cultural Terrace. The preliminary findings estimated costs of $50 million to $55 million to develop and $3.6 million to operate in a stabilized year. It would have the potential to generate $1.8 million in earned revenue from admissions, fees, programming, facility rentals, and retails sales. No funding nor project schedule is identified to date, but staff and the Great Park Garden Coalition are informally discussing terms of a possible Exclusive Negotiating Agreement. The coalition has also engaged Cal Poly Pomona landscape architecture students to inspire design ideas for a future garden.
Wild Rivers Parking Lot
The project consists of design and preparation of plans for the construction of an approximately 14.7-acre parking lot (approximately 1,225 stalls) that includes precise grading, landscape planting and irrigation plans, lighting plans, striping plans, and utility plans. The parking lot is to provide spaces for the future Wild Rivers Water Park and for visitors to the Cultural Terrace during Wild Rivers' nonoperating season. The project has completed the preliminary design. A traffic study was presented to the Transportation Commission on November 17, 2020. Next steps include: proceeding with design and construction drawings and completing regulatory approvals and permits. The project's design budget is $11.7 million.
Cultural Terrace: Proposed Projects
The Great Park Master Plan anticipates an amphitheater in the Great Park. In December 2010, a Level 2 Program Priority Feasibility Study was completed for an outdoor amphitheater with 8,000 fixed seats and a 2,000-seat lawn capacity on 11.5 acres, excluding parking. The proposed project budget was $51 million in 2009; according to the Bureau of Labor, the project in 2019 is an estimated $62 million. City staff will return with an update on future development of an amphitheater in the Great Park after meetings with the amphitheater sub-committee and Live Nation.
American Museum of Natural History
In November 2018, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) visited the Orange County Great Park and held discussions with Great Park Board Members and City management regarding the development of a West Coast branch. AMNH is finalizing its analysis of development options in the Great Park. Next steps include determining a location, negotiating development and operation terms, beginning the entitlement and environmental process, design, and construction. Staff will return to the Board with an update once the analysis is complete. A project budget is still to be determined.
Cultural Terrace: Development Partner Projects
Wild Rivers Water Park
Wild Rivers and City staff are collaborating on the renegotiation of lease terms and a new site following the Navy's denial of development on the former site. A location and lease was selected on April 28, 2020. The project is currently completing the entitlement and regulatory process. Next steps include: finalizing a California Environmental Quality Act review and plans, and proposing a conditional use permit to the Planning Commission in October/November. The project's projected budget is $50 million (funded privately) and an anticipated opening of spring 2022 (timeline is subject to change).
Tenant Improvements & Temporary Projects
In winter 2019, City Council expressed an interest in increasing shade within the Sports Complex. A capital improvement project to complete this work was created in the fiscal year 2019-20 budget. Design is underway, with a budget of $2.15 million. Complete concept design is expected by the end of 2020.
Parking & Roadway Lighting in Western Sector
The Western Sector Roadways project included road-edge streetlights, which are now energized along Corsair and Phantom. Following the January Great Park Board meeting, roadway lighting was energized and temporary solar- and fuel-powered lights were positioned in Parking Lot 2 (Festival Lot). The project is complete, though staff are evaluating sustainable alternative options to better illuminate the lot prior to construction of the Western Sector Improvements.
Sports Complex Concession Improvements
Funding was approved in June 2019 to improve existing concessions in the Great Park Sports Complex to meet regulations set by OC Health to sell hot food. All three stadium facilities and baseball support in the outfield are planned for improvements. A design contractor has been selected, with scope of work informed by O.C. Health. Conceptual design is expected by the first quarter of 2021, with a project budget of $1 million. Potential sponsorship opportunities are being pursued.