The Irvine City Council on Tuesday, March 27 approved more than $455 million in financing for the Great Park Framework Plan. The funds will be generated through a series of bond issuances through the next seven years. The $455 million will come with interest, totaling approximately $1.2 billion in the next 30 years. The total cost will be split between the city and developer Heritage Fields.
There was no additional discussion from council members, who voted unanimously to approve the funds in the absence of Council Member Mike Carroll.
Since July, the Council, by way of the Great Park Board of Directors, has steadily approved millions in financing for the park’s highly anticipated features, which include a sprawling botanical garden, a veterans memorial, a 14,000 seat outdoor amphitheater and a recently announced $90 million aquatics center.
Dahle Bulosan, Director of Administrative Services, said this plan “reflects the community and council priorities,” and that the bonds would be split between the city and developer Heritage Fields. Bulosan also added that the subject of bond issuances would not increase taxes for local residents.
“With this framework plan the city assumes development lead for our future park amenities, which requires extensive capital funding in the fund of bond issuances, a framework plan implementation agreement between the city and also Heritage Fields,” he said. “It’s important to note that it would not increase the tax rate on the residents or future residents of the Great Park.”
With the split of funding between Heritage Fields, Irvine will assume a $625 million obligation. Heritage Fields will assume $600 million.
The bonds will be split among three areas inside the Great Park.
A $170 million bond will be designated for Area 6, which is known as Cadence Park and is approximately 220 acres. Currently, Cadence Park is home to 1,007 single-family residential units, and a half dozen undeveloped commercial parcels which are owned by Heritage Fields.
Irvine will designate $220 million for 252 acres in Area 7, which is known as the Altair and located between Irvine Blvd. and Portola Parkway.
An additional $65 million will be designated for Area 9, known as Novel Park. Area 9 is approximately 44 acres, and is located between Interstate 133 and Ridge Valley Parkway.
As far as a timeline for construction for new Great Park developments, the city of Irvine is expected to move forward with ARDA site demolition in the coming weeks.
Irvine City Manager Oliver Chi said he expects construction on the ARDA site to begin in May.
“We do have timelines established regarding the Great Park, and will be heading back to the Great Park Board / City Council to review and confirm first phase projects on April 11. If the plan is ratified at that point, we expect to move forward with project implementation, starting with ARDA site demo work in May,” he said via text message.
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