Friday, December 1, 2023

Great Park Board Moves Forward on Cultural Terrace

IRVINE, Calif. USA  — The Orange County Great Park Board has acted to advance the second major phase of Park development. The Board approved the findings of two feasibility studies to refine the Cultural District portion of the Park’s Master Plan, including an outdoor Amphitheater at the Great Park.

Feasibility studies are conducted as part of the implementation process of the Great Park Master Plan, an award-winning comprehensive park design that forms the vision for each phase of Park development. The studies result in recommendations for developing amenities, programs, land use, design and possible business models for various components of the Master Plan.

“The Board approved a Master Plan for the entire 1,347 acres, and that is what allows us to prepare for the next phase of development as we continue to construct the first phase,” said Larry Agran, Chair of the Orange County Great Park Board. “With the Sports Park under construction, the Great Park Farm bearing fruit and construction about to begin on the Palm Court, having a plan in place allows us to continue to look forward to the next phases.”

The Cultural District plan recommended in the study refines the vision elements of the Master Plan while incorporating advanced concepts such as the adaptive reuse of two large aircraft hangars and existing concrete runways for the 200-acre Cultural Terrace site. Under the plan, the hangars, which are more than 200,000 square feet each, would be renovated to provide space for a variety of civic and cultural activities, including the Museum of Heritage and Aviation, the Arts + Cultural Center, the Multi-Cultural Center, and office space for community non-profit organizations.

Additional proposed freestanding buildings would house a library, life sciences museum and the Multi-Cultural Center. The lake envisioned in the Master Plan is proposed to take shape as a series of water bodies that can be used for recreation while providing a visual separation between the open park space and the Amphitheater.

“What is most impressive about the Cultural Terrace plan is that it signals a very healthy transition in the planning and construction of the Great Park,” said Marian Bergeson, chair of the Foundation for the Great Park and former state senator. “As the park moves from its initial master design into the implementation of phased developments, park leaders are adapting well to rapidly changing conditions.”

Live Nation, the concert operator of the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, partnered with the Great Park Corporation in the Amphitheater feasibility study to create a conceptual design for the concert and event space.

The plan calls for the Amphitheater to feature a structural steel framed building, and a suggested iconic wing-like element is designed with a translucent material so the structure will be visible when lit at night. The stage house is designed as a steel structure, enclosed on three sides, and set adjacent to the artists’ compound of dressing rooms, offices and show production areas.

Existing runways adjacent to the Amphitheater will provide parking for 4,000 cars, which is another adaptive reuse element recommended in the feasibility study.

CEO Mike Ellzey was directed by the Board to prepare a budget and schedule for work necessary to revise the Great Park Master Plan to include the elements contained in the studies.

“These studies help evolve and define our Master Plan,” said Ellzey. “As we move closer to developing this key component of the Master Plan, we are better informed on how to efficiently and economically implement the vision of the Great Park.”

About the Great Park
The Orange County Great Park, with its 1,347-acre master plan, is the focal point of the redevelopment of the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro. The Great Park is currently developed to 27.5 acres and includes an iconic tethered helium balloon that rises 400 feet in the air, providing an aerial view of Park development. A $70 million development plan to expand the Park to more than 200 acres is currently underway. The plan will build out a core section of the Park for the most immediate and wide-ranging public benefit, including the initial components of the sports park, a 114-acre agricultural area, and an art and culture exhibition space.

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Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She reports on design and technical design, production and project management, industry trends and company culture. From 2005-2020 she ran communications and publications for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA and publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association, and has contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a BFA from Pratt Institute. She has lived in Detroit, New York, Oakland, and now Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts community.

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