With a price tag currently budgeted for as much as $130M, a new 14,000-seat amphitheater proposed for Irvine’s Great Park looks likely to be the most expensive facility built at the former El Toro Marine Base.
Business Journal research suggests the proposed development, if it runs close to the $130M figure, could turn out to be one of the most expensive
outdoor concert venues in the country; its cost far surpasses that of other Live Nation-backed amphitheaters in Nashville and Dallas cited in a recent city report as comparable properties.
In San Diego, the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, a new 10,000-seat venue for that city’s symphony, opened last year along the San Diego Bay at a reported cost of $85M. That venue, which like Irvine’s proposed amphitheater aims to rival the Hollywood Bowl as a cultural landmark, was privately funded.
In contrast, all but $20M of the Irvine project would be paid for by the city, filings indicate—that works out to around $350 per Irvine resident. Concert goers would be hit with a $5 maintenance surcharge for all tickets to recoup some of the costs. See page 8 for more on the plans.
A reason for the high cost of the Irvine facility wasn’t specified in city filings; the city already owns the 25 acres at the Great Park where it would be built. Live Nation officials told the OC Register that the venue would incorporate the best aspects of other facilities it runs across the country.
City officials in August indicated that Irvine has some $580M in Great Park-dedicated funds in hand, to bankroll an assortment of amenities as the city embarks on its latest attempt to turn the area into something comparable to NYC’s Central Park or San Diego’s Balboa Park.
The new Orange County Museum of Art already can lay claim to being the area’s newest cultural landmark, with a striking architecture and design that rivals the exhibitions being put on display at the Costa Mesa facility.
Privately funded, the $94M project will open to the public on Oct. 8 with a 24-hour slate of programming. See our front-page feature and special supplement for more on the project.
Peter Chang, who left his position as CEO of Laguna Beach nonprofit Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) earlier this year, is staying in the neighborhood for his newest role in animal welfare.
Last week, Chang was named executive director of a newly launched nonprofit, Unconditional, whose mission “is to build a world where people see the value in senior and special dogs, and to ensure each has a chance to find a loving home.”
Laguna Beach locals Amy and Julian Mack started Unconditional; the latter is CEO of Irvine’s JustFoodForDogs, one of the country’s fastest-growing pet food companies.
Unconditional is gearing up for construction of a new pet adoption center along Laguna Canyon Road; it’ll be next door to the PMMC facility.
The nonprofit has been selected to be the recipient of this year’s Chef Masters food and wine tasting event, being held Oct. 16 at the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach. More info can be found at chefmasters.org.