News and Notes for December
The best view in Irvine will be from the Hive & Honey, the rooftop bar on the 15th floor of the new Marriott Irvine Spectrum, the 271-room hotel opening Dec. 11. The open-air spot will include fire pits, lounge and bar seating on a larger space than expected (3,500 square feet). On clear nights, we expect to see the lights of downtown L.A., along with 360-degree views of Orange County, from the mountains to the Back Bay, and stunning sunsets. The hotel is being described as an incubator for new ideas about travel and hospitality, including corner suites with an open, loft-like design that includes full kitchens. The hotel includes Heirloom, a full-service restaurant and lounge off of the first-floor lobby that will also include a Starbucks, and 13,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor event space.
The view from the new Spectrum Marriott reveals the impressive expanse of the Orange County Great Park, including the next phases of the Sports Park, which are quickly advancing toward completion. Also coming up is the first retail and office space in the area. Called Base Camp, the mixed-use project will include restaurants, including reports of some innovative food hall-like touches, hotels, and other uses. Also coming is the next Great Park Neighborhood, Cadence Park. In our last issue, Irvine City News reported on the groundbreaking for the neighborhood’s K-8 school. FivePoint Holdings, LLC, has announced that construction of the model homes at Cadence Park is expected to begin in the next few months. The 103 acres of land will hold 1,007 homes. Demand for the homes in the Great Park Neighborhoods has been strong. Pavilion Park is sold out, Beacon Park is 99% sold, and the 653-home Parasol Park project is 66% sold, according to FivePoint.
The future of the 405
Most Irvine residents received a notice in the mail about the I-405 South Improvement Project, which is proposed for the approximately 8.5-mile long stretch of the 405 in Irvine. “I-405 has insufficient capacity to accommodate either the existing travel demands or the increased travel demands along the I-405 corridor that will occur by the year 2050,” is how the Environmental Impact Report for the project puts it. The improvements proposed include the possibility of either one or two more lanes in each direction extending from the 55 to the El Toro Y where the 405 and 5 freeways meet, as well as the addition of sound walls and other improvements. Alternative 2 would add a single general purpose (GP) lane in the northbound direction of I-405 between State Route 133 (SR-133) and Culver Drive and a single GP lane in the southbound direction between University Drive/Jeffrey Road and Irvine Center Drive. Alternative 3 would include the GP lanes described in Alternative 2 and an additional GP lane in the NB direction of I-405 between SR-133 and Jamboree Road and in the SB direction between Culver Drive and SR-133. The project would also add additional off-ramp lanes at Sand Canyon/Shady Canyon, MacArthur Boulevard and SR-133. The total estimated cost of the project is between $225 and $245 million, depending on which concept is approved. The I-405 South improvement project is part of OCTA’s Measure M freeway improvement program. Let’s not hold our collective breath, however: The project will be constructed between 2025 and 2029, with an opening year of 2030. Caltrans and OCTA are holding a public hearing on Dec. 5 at the University Community Park (1 Beech Tree Lane) from 5-8 p.m. to provide information. Public comments on the draft environmental report, which evaluates the project’s benefits and potential impacts on the environment, will be accepted through Dec. 15.