January 2018 News and Notes
The OC Soccer Club will play all its 2018 home matches at the championship stadium at Great Park Sports Park. The team is the affiliated farm club for Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), the newest Major League Soccer team in SoCal. The stadium and playing fields of the Sports Park are quickly becoming one of the most important venues for soccer and other youth sports in the region. The Sports Park soccer stadium will be the venue for a preseason exhibition match on Feb. 17 between the LA Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes. Irvine is also home to LA Galaxy Orange County, the MLS team’s soccer development program. Adidas and LA Galaxy Orange County are presenting the OC College Showcase there in early March. The event draws top teams and clubs and features full-length matches. Other tournaments drawing players and their families to Irvine and the Great Park Sports Park include the OC Summer Invitational in August and the OC Tournament of Champions in early December.
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Irvine’s travel and hospitality industry has had a significant upgrade with the debut of the Marriott Irvine Spectrum. It’s sure to be the preferred choice for corporate travelers to the Irvine Spectrum business district. We anticipate that locals will fall in love with Hive & Honey, the hotel’s rooftop terrace and bar, when it opens in January, and the Heirloom Farmhouse Kitchen in the lobby. The improvement in the city’s $600 million-plus tourism sector will continue with the final approval by the Irvine City Council of the Landmark project, a hotel and office complex near John Wayne Airport. Located at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Campus Drive, the project includes a 386-room, 15-story hotel, along with a swimming pool, restaurant and retail. The Landmark is designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the architectural firm founded by renowned architect I.M. Pei, and is a development of Irvine-based Great Far East. The city council approved the project 3-1 after additional aviation safety studies and consultation. The Federal Aviation Administration approved the project, but the Airport Land Use Commission for Orange County came out against it. The seven-member commission, which has meetings scheduled monthly, only convened three times in 2017, cancelling the nine other meetings. The commission met a total of five times in 2016 and six times in 2015, according to the meeting archive on its website.
One of the most popular foodie spots in Irvine is 85°C Bakery Café. While the brand was founded in Taiwan in 2003, the Irvine location debuted in 2008 and was the first in the United States. The Diamond Jamboree location has remained a bustling sensation since its first days, with a line that often stretches out the front door. 85°C offers fluffy breads baked fresh all day, as well as pastries, cakes, coffee and tea. To celebrate the 10-year anniversary, the Irvine bakery will close in 2018 for a brief refresh and upgrade. There are also plans to open a second Irvine location in 2018, and another in nearby Tustin. Several other SoCal cafes are opening soon, for a total of 22 in the region and more than 1,000 globally.