FivePoint, in partnership with Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV), the world’s largest live entertainment company, announced today a proposal to build a 12,000-seat outdoor music amphitheater adjacent to the Orange County Great Park with the objective of opening in time for the 2017 summer season.
FivePoint (on behalf of property owner, Heritage Fields El Toro, LLC) is partnering with Live Nation on the interim amphitheater, pending approval by the City of Irvine. FivePoint has applied for a conditional use permit with the City of Irvine to allow Live Nation to design and build an interim venue on approximately 45 acres next to the Orange County Great Park in the heart of the county. The interim venue would be located less than two miles from Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, the iconic outdoor venue that has hosted hundreds of music’s biggest artists and bands since it opened in August 1981. Irvine Meadows will close permanently at the end of this month and eventually will be replaced by apartment homes to be built by the Irvine Company.
“Since the early 1980s, music lovers in Orange County and beyond have made Irvine their summer home, coming to see some of the greatest musical talents of all time,” said Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO, FivePoint, “We’re determined to keep this tradition alive by working with Live Nation to develop the next-generation, outdoor music venue in Irvine. Music plays a major role in building community. It brings people together and breaks down barriers. Live, outdoor music is part of Orange County’s heritage and it is essential to its future.”
As outlined in its permit application, FivePoint, on behalf of Heritage Fields, will make available a portion of the private property that borders the Orange County Great Park for the construction and operation of an interim venue for up to three years. Under this plan, Live Nation will design, construct and operate the outdoor facility and adjacent parking for fans, as well as concession and hospitality offerings with the goal of opening in time for the 2017 summer season. FivePoint, working with Live Nation and the City of Irvine, hopes to secure the necessary permits for the proposed venue.
“Orange County has become a major concert stop for touring musical acts and Live Nation is committed to keeping the long tradition of live summer concerts alive and growing in this region,” said Bret Gallagher, president of Southern California Live Nation. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with FivePoint and build the highest quality interim amphitheater venue with all of the comforts and conveniences today’s guests are seeking.”
The interim amphitheater is planned to be similar to the America’s Cup Pavilion in San Francisco, an outdoor facility Live Nation built in summer 2013 near the waterfront for concerts during the international sailing competition. The proposed Irvine facility will be located on the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro base. The actual venue will be at the end of the southern runways at the former base and walking distance from the Irvine Transportation Center, a major mass transit hub for Metrolink passengers. Preliminary plans call for the amphitheater seating to face the picturesque Santa Ana Mountains and Saddleback Peak.
The City of Irvine’s master plan for the Great Park calls for an outdoor amphitheater in the “cultural terrace” portion of the park on city land. However, city officials have not made any final decisions about the mix of amenities, which will ultimately be located there.
“Live outdoor music is so important culturally and economically for Irvine and the region,” said Irvine City Council member Christina Shea. “Having a facility of this size and quality in the heart of this city is a big win for us and all of Orange County. I want to thank FivePoint and Live Nation for partnering on this project. I can’t wait to see the interim amphitheater finished and continue the important discussions about putting a permanent amphitheater in the Great Park.”
In August, a grassroots movement called “Save Live Music Irvine” was formed to bring attention to Irvine Meadows closing and build momentum for a new venue in Irvine. So far, more than 30,000 fans have joined the campaign with many expressing their attraction and connection with live music on a memory wall inside the historic venue. A large sampling of those comments from fans was displayed at the press conference announcing plans for a proposed interim facility near the Great Park. Since the early 1980s, Irvine Meadowshas featured hundreds of musical acts of all genres, including rock, country, pop, R&B, hip-hop and classical.