A sign for Orange County's Great Park in Irvine, Calif., on Jan. 26, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Irvine’s Great Park may soon see a food hall offering a variety of popular restaurants, non-alcoholic drinks, and retail shops.
The Great Park Board, composed of city council members, unanimously—with boardmember Mike Carroll absent—moved forward Aug 8. an agreement with commercial real estate developer Almquist, which developed a similar project in Stanton and has another in the works in San Juan Capistrano.
Tom Carpenter, a vice president at Almquist, said the project will seek to invite residents and visitors who may not otherwise have planned to visit the Great Park.
“How do you create these places that are special and unique? … That’s really relevant when we talk about the Great Park because there’s already so much there,” Mr. Carpenter told the park board during a presentation on the project.
He said Almquist takes such into consideration when developing projects.
“How do we make the food and beverage something that people come specifically for and seek out, and don’t just enjoy when they’re already there,” he said.
The Great Park in Irvine, Calif., on May 5, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
The plan is to create the food hall in three different hangars, which would be ultimately connected by pathways, at the park.
One of the hangars is owned by the developer FivePoint, which the city is requesting the company trade for a similarly sized plot of land at the corner of Great Park Boulevard and Ridge Valley, which is already planned for affordable housing, according to city staff.
Another of the hangers for the project, with its 12,000 square feet, is now used for special events, which city staff said would be moved to another hangar in the park.
The Great Park was once the site of the Marine Corps El Toro Air Station, which left behind the large airplane hangars when the air station was decommissioned in 1999.
A hangar displaying a World War I-era aircraft is chained shut from visitors at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., on July 2, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Vice Mayor Tammy Kim asked if diverse food options would be selected to represent the city’s diverse population.
“I would really hope that if we were to enter into this, that you would really work hard in terms of curating the appropriate mix to fit our demographics,” she said.
Mr. Carpenter, of Almquist, assured such.
“Each project needs to be tailored to the community it serves … one of the best parts about Irvine is … the diversity,” he said.
City staff will now work with Almquist on an agreement, which will be brought back to the board for final approval at a later date.