Uptown Newport presentation zeros in on parking

If there's one thing a majority of Newport Beach residents are concerned with, it's where to park in a busy landscape.

Or, as voiced by one resident during Speak Up Newport's forum Wednesday on Uptown Newport — a planned high-density residential and commercial development near John Wayne Airport — it's a desire to not be "overrun" and made to "look like New York City."

The group of nearly 30 raised several concerns in addition to adequate parking, including the land sale price, the number of condos versus apartments and construction dates.

Shopoff Group Director of Asset Management Brian Rupp provided answers to most of those questions during his presentation at the Newport Beach Yacht Club.

The Irvine-based real estate investment firm bought the 25-acre site from Conexant Systems, a semiconductor company, in 2010 for $23.5 million.

Uptown Newport's plans include up to 1,244 residential units, 11,500 square feet of retail and two acres of public park spaces, Rupp said.

On-site parking for all of that will be both short and long term, he said, using structures and on-street parking. It will comply with city requirements, he added.

"We have a property that is very unique," Rupp said. "It's a tremendous opportunity, and we see it as the perfect spot for high-density residential housing in an urban environment. We want to create a project that is unique, that has unique quality and character that exemplifies Newport Beach."

MVE & Partners is Uptown Newport's architect, Rupp said. Its Newport Beach portfolio includes One Ford Road, Belcourt and two Irvine Co. apartment complexes: Newport Bluffs and the Colony at Fashion Island.

Uptown Newport will have the state-mandated affordable housing as well, Rupp said.

Its projected economic impacts include 2,000 construction jobs, more than $500,000 in annual tax revenue for the city and more than $20 million in "excess park fee funding" to use toward area parkland improvements, Rupp said.

"With the transformation from an industrial site to a residential site, we're going to see a great reduction in the utility usage here," Rupp added. "Electric, gas, water, sewer — all substantially reduced. This will greatly reduce the carbon footprint for this property and will result in a substantial reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions."

The City Council on Feb. 26 gave the project a wide-ranging approval, including an OK of its environmental impact report and agreeing to amend some city zoning regulations.

Uptown Newport developers foresee a two-phase construction, the first of which begins this year and goes until 2018. The second phase could be completed by 2021.


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