More than 500 acres of the 1300-acre Great Park have already been developed. In addition to the park’s iconic Orange Balloon and hand-painted Carousel, there is a 5,000-seat professional soccer stadium; a 280,000 square-foot facility featuring NHL and Olympic-sized ice rinks; 25 tennis courts; 24 soccer fields; 10 baseball & softball fields; 8 basketball courts; 5 sand volleyball courts; the Kids Rock playground; walking & biking trails; the Historical Walkable Timeline; an arts complex; the Farm+Food Lab; and the weekly Farmers Market.
Over the past couple of decades, the Great Park has become home to a number of free community activities — including art exhibitions, cultural festivals, holiday markets, outdoor concerts, and summer movies.
Now, the City is moving forward with the next phase of development with a planning document referred to as the “Great Park Framework Plan.”
This next phase of construction at the Great Park includes the long-promised Veterans Memorial Park & Gardens; an outdoor amphitheater; the first 15 acres of a botanical garden; an arboretum; a lake with a cascading waterfall; a 20-acre meadow; Pretend City Children’s Museum; Orange County Music & Dance Center; and the Flying Leathernecks Museum.
On August 8th, the Great Park Board of Directors — made up of the five Irvine City Councilmembers — voted to approve an exclusive negotiating agreement with Almquist, formerly known as Frontier Real Estate Investments, to plan and develop a food and retail center at the Great Park. (Almquist has worked on similar projects throughout Orange County.)
Under the agreement with Almquist, the historic (World War II), 12,000-square-foot restored Hangar 244, located in the Great Park’s Sports Complex, will be soon accommodate a food court. And, nearby Hangar 10 (also a restored World War II airplane hangar) will become a public market and retail space. According to City staff, the walkway between the two hangars will be lined with a variety of restaurants and retail shops.
Irvine Community News & Views will continue to keep our readers updated as the next phase of Great Park construction moves forward.
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