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Orange County Great Park gets one step closer to completion with opening of $200-million sports complex

Orange County Great Park gets one step closer to completion with opening of $200-million sports complex
Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer speaks at the opening ceremonies of the OC Great Park Sports Complex. (Spencer Grant)

A $200-million multi-sports complex was completed this week at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

Located at the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, the 194-acre addition is a significant milestone in the overall build-out of the park.

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“This elevates Orange County and Irvine to an international level in sport,” said Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint Holdings, which developed the complex.

The sports park includes a 1,000-seat baseball stadium, several lacrosse, softball, baseball and soccer fields, tennis and volleyball courts and a 5,000-seat soccer stadium, among other venues.

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Haddad said the complex, twice the size of Disneyland, will host high-profile competitions, including international contests.

The Orange County Soccer Club, a minor league team, will use the large soccer stadium as its home field. It will also be the site of youth and collegiate tournaments.

More than 1,000 people showed up to the opening ceremonies Sept. 16.

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The event ended with a ceremonial first pitch from Irvine Mayor Don Wagner, City Council members Christina Shea and Melissa Fox, Supervisor Todd Spitzer, Haddad and others.

A drone image of the Orange County Great Park Sports Park on Sept. 16 during the “A Day at the Park Celebration." The event marked the completion of all championship stadiums and fields planned for the park.
A drone image of the Orange County Great Park Sports Park on Sept. 16 during the “A Day at the Park Celebration." The event marked the completion of all championship stadiums and fields planned for the park. (Courtesy of Tsutsumida Pictures)

FivePoint finished the complex — one of the largest in the country — in about four years. The first 53 acres of the sports park opened in 2017.

The company committed in 2013 to develop 688 acres of the 1,300-acre park for the city in exchange for permission to build thousands of homes nearby. FivePoint’s projects include the sports complex, a wildlife corridor, a bosque — a type of forested area — and a golf course.

The wildlife corridor should be completed by mid-2019. The project entails restoring 2.5 miles of a 6-mile corridor to allow the gray fox, bobcat, coyote and various native birds to travel between Orange County coastal habitat and the Santa Ana Mountains.

A 75-acre bosque and canyon area is nearing completion. The 18-hole golf course has yet to be built.

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