In a decade, Great Park Neighborhoods has grown to be home to a signature park, four schools and more than 6,000 families, and as part of celebrations Tuesday, Sept. 26, marking its anniversary in Irvine, developer FivePoint announced details for an eighth neighborhood.
Luna Park is slated to be a 770-home, master-planned neighborhood right around the corner from Portola High School in the southeast corner of the Great Park Neighborhoods. Lennar is the builder on this project, with construction expected to begin early next year.
FivePoint CEO Dan Hedigan, who took leadership in 2022 after founder Emile Haddad stepped away to become a senior adviser, announced details of the neighborhood to gathered city, school and community leaders Tuesday after a long intro that shared his roots in the Irvine community.
“I have seen what this area of Irvine once was, and now it has become beautiful and a much more valuable use of this asset and land,” he said, a nod to the development of the shuttered Marine Corps Air Station El Toro into the residential community with the Great Park, Orange County’s largest municipal park, at its center. “I look around and can’t believe what I see.”
The base was closed in 1999 and in 2003, the inaugural Great Park corporation met with plans unfolding to start building the community. But not until 2013, did ground break for the Great Park, and since then, the neighborhoods have rapidly expanded, offering a mix of luxury high-end collections to mid-level single-family residential homes.
Developer FivePoint has sold to homebuilders some 8,000 of the 10,500 units the Great Parks Neighborhoods is entitled to, though not all have started construction.
And, the Great Park now boasts a completed 194-acre sports complex with various ball fields, a soccer stadium and sand volleyball courts; trails; an arts pavilion; and, most recently, the Wild Rivers waterpark. City leaders took a new look this year at future amenities still to be developed at the park, prioritizing a veterans memorial, botanical gardens and an amphitheater and agreements have been made for museums dedicated to children, firefighting and military aircraft.
Eric Morgan, FivePoint vice president, said building the community around the park is expected to be completed by 2032.
“We opened Pavilion Park in 2013 as the Great Park’s first neighborhood. We did not know what to expect with this neighborhood being so new, but now, we can truly see the power and evolution that the Great Park has and will continue to have,” he said.
At Tuesday’s anniversary celebration, Hedigan also announced Belaria, the Great Park’s sixth affordable housing community. Located on the southeast end of the Great Park, the 144-unit apartment complex recently finished construction. The first residents are expected to starting moving in by November.
This neighborhood will bring the total number of affordable housing units to 853, said Hedigan, who added he expects more to be developed in the future, but did not give specifics.
Hedigan finished his announcements by sharing plans for a new grocery retail center – which garnered the most applause from the crowd by far. In recent years, some residents have complained about slow development of retail to serve the burgeoning community.
There will also be a new pop-up village off Ridge Valley Road and Bosque serving as a food-and-beverage stop near the sports fields.
City of Hope Orange County President Annette Walker also participated in Tuesday’s celebration event, sharing updates on the 164,000-square-foot, 73-bed cancer hospital set to open in 2025. City of Hope already opened its first outpatient cancer center in Orange County next door to the under-construction hospital.
“We are on the precipice of Orange County residents having access to more than 600 cancer specialists and 1,000 scientists and researchers,” said Walker. “Coming with that, we are committed to bringing our legacy of care and compassion to not only the Great Park residents, but all of Orange County.”
Over the next couple of weeks, the Great Park Neighborhoods is set to continue its celebration with a multitude of events planned including a special night at an Orange County Soccer Club game – the professional team uses the Great Park’s Championship Soccer Stadium – on Oct. 4 as well as the unveiling of a collaborative art project at the Irvine Global Village Festival on Oct. 14.
Tuesday’s event concluded with Hedigan, Walker, Morgan, Irvine Unified Superintendent Terry Walker and Mayor Farrah Khan taking a private ride in the Great Park’s iconic balloon, dubbing it the “Flight of the Future.”
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