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8 builders buy land in Great Park development

Construction of the new homes, priced from the high $600,000 range to $1.2 million, is expected to begin this month.

May 02, 2013|Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
  • The first phase of Great Park Neighborhoods, on the site of the former El Toro Marine base, was approved by the Irvine City Council in 2011.
The first phase of Great Park Neighborhoods, on the site of the former El… (Christina House, For The…)

Construction is set to begin on the first phase of a massive housing development that is part of the city of Irvine's long-awaited Great Park project.

A total of 726 single-family homes and detached condominium units are planned for Pavilion Park, which will be the first part of the Great Park Neighborhoods development. This week, eight major home builders bought land in this first offering from master developer FivePoint Communities Inc. Construction of the new homes, priced from the high $600,000 range to $1.2 million, is expected to begin this month.

"Look, this is for real. Anybody who was wondering whether this was going to happen or not, hopefully this answers that," FivePoint Chief Executive Emile Haddad said. "When you have eight builders investing, this should tell everybody that this project is moving, and the next phase is going to happen very quickly."

The Great Park is an ambitious development, expected to include new homes, commercial space and the Orange County Great Park itself — which is planned for 1,300 acres, nearly twice the size of New York City's Central Park. The mixed-use development is rising on the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.

The real estate crash and the financial crisis slowed the project, and Haddad had to secure new financing for the project two years ago. The private development is a key part of the Orange County Great Park project, because some fees paid by homeowners will go toward the park. Much of the infrastructure needed for the park — such as sewers and streets — is shared with the private part of the development and is FivePoint's responsibility to build.

The first phase of Great Park Neighborhoods was approved by the Irvine City Council in 2011 and will include about 5,000 new homes and, when complete, 1.2 million square feet of commercial space. Construction on Pavilion Park and the model homes is set to begin this month.

The home builders selected for the project agreed to work with designs developed by FivePoint, which has planned the new home offering in meticulous detail to capitalize on the rising market. Haddad said the Great Park project will include 31 floor plans with an American Heritage style. That will help differentiate the project from homes offered by Irvine Co.

FivePoint's chief executive expects a grand opening of the neighborhood in September and families to be living in the new neighborhood by the winter. The builders selected for the project are K. Hovnanian Homes, Lennar, William Lyon Homes, Pulte Homes, Richmond American Homes, Ryland Homes, Shea Homes and Taylor Morrison.

alejandro.lazo@latimes.com

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