Wednesday, Nov. 15, was the agreed upon last day of operations for the All American Asphalt plant in Irvine.
The plant’s closure comes months after the Irvine City Council agreed to purchase the property for $285 million following increasing complaints from surrounding residents about air pollution and smells coming from the area when the plant was in production. Irvine filed a public nuisance lawsuit in 2020 and previously explored options for relocating the plant, which opened in the early 1990s before much of the surrounding residential development.
The nearly 11-acre property will be part of the city’s larger plan to convert the area into about 700 acres of open green space to be called the Gateway Preserve, which officials have said will create a hub for hiking, biking and other outdoor activities. The preserve will be created from land already owned by the city, the shuttered asphalt property and land from the Irvine Company.
City Manager Oliver Chi said the asphalt company will move production capacity to its other facilities outside of Irvine such as in Westminster and Corona. A spokesperson for All American Asphalt did not respond to a request for comment.
The shutdown of the plant is a big win for the City Council and the community, Chi said. “In the first quarter of 2024, the city will officially acquire and own the actual land.”
The city, Chi added, is currently working on the first phase of the opening of the Gateway Preserve, which involves the extension of the Jeffrey Open Space Trail. Right now, the trail ends south of Portola Parkway, where a bridge will be built to connect the trail to the Gateway Preserve. Construction is anticipated to happen next year.
“We are confident we’ll be able to move that process forward in partnership with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, who we’ve contracted with to get all of the necessary plans and permits put together through all of the regulatory resource agencies over the course of the next couple of months,” he said.
“Concurrent with that, we’re also working on the Gateway Residential Village, which was part of this overall program,” Chi said. “That’s an overall process that will meet its next public check-in point in January of 2024, when we hope to identify a builder partner for that particular project.”
About 80 acres of the property from the Irvine Company is set to be developed with housing, which is expected to raise enough money to cover the purchase price of the asphalt plant.
Access to green space has been part of the city’s master plan, Chi said, and in the southern part of town the city has been able to achieve that goal with Bommer Canyon and the Southern Open Space Preserve.
“We’ve never had until now the opportunity to replicate that in the northern part of town,” he said. “That’s always been a part of the broader plan and the ability to now deliver on that plan while also shutting down the All American Asphalt plant I think is just a tremendous win for Irvine and the entire community.”
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