When the going gets tough, the tough...build more housing, apparently. Irvine, dealing with the loss of $1.4 billion in expected redevelopment funding for the Orange County Great Park project (a victim of the state killing off redevelopment agencies), earlier this week released a Draft Second Supplemental Environmental Impact Report for Heritage Fields, the residential and commercial development that will surround the park. The 2012 "Modified Project" would expand on the original approvals for the project, which were handed down in 2003. From the DSSEIR: "The 2012 Modified Project consists of 4,606 dwelling units (3,412 base units and 1,194 [density bonus] units) for a total of 9,500 units ... The 2012 Modified Project also includes the option to convert up to 535,000 square feet of non-residential Multi-Use to up to 889 base dwelling units and 311 DB units, granted pursuant to State law. These are in addition to the already approved 4,894 dwelling units. With the conversion, the total number of dwelling would be 10,700 units." The LA Times reports that, in exchange for changes, the city expects to receive up to $200 million from the developer, Fivepoint Communities Inc. But that's far short of what the project needs to make up for the loss of the disappeared redevelopment funding.
Because there couldn't possibly be a public project of this scale without political disagreement, the status of the massive park project has sparked some verbal fireworks between a few Irvine councilmembers. Councilmember Jeffrey Lalloway is quoted in the LAT as saying that the park's "initial promise cannot be kept," and, "The whole thing's unfortunate." Lalloway encouraged other options be considered, such as public-private partnerships that could bring the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater to the park or a practice facility for the Anaheim Ducks hockey team. Larry Agran, however, thinks the expanded development would be "essential for the development of the park," and "Any development surrounding the park is helpful to the park and the city itself."
As for the park itself, Agran says, "The fact of the matter is, the Great Park will be built...It may take longer than 20, 25 years, maybe 30 or 40 years. We're making progress, and major construction is underway right now at the Great Park." Image via The Architect's Newspaper
· At Orange County's Great Park, plan would double number of homes [LA Times]
· DRAFT Great Park Neighborhoods Second Supplemental Environmental Impact Report - July 2012 [City of Irvine]