Irvine’s newest neighborhood debuts
Parasol Park is the third neighborhood in Great Park Neighborhoods developed by FivePoint on the former Marine Corps El Toro base. Pavilion Park opened in 2013, Beacon Park in 2015, and 18 months later the grand opening for Parasol Park on Jan. 21.
Civic leaders in attendance included Irvine’s newest councilmember Melissa Fox; former Irvine mayor and new assemblyman Steven Choi; members of the Irvine Unified School board Ira Glasky, Lauren Brooks and Paul Bokota; planning commissioners Dustin Nirschl and Anthony Kuo and community service commissioners Jim Shute and Dick Owens; and a representative from Congresswoman Mimi Walters office.
“A few years ago we accepted the responsibility and the privilege of turning the historic Marine Corps El Toro base into a 21st century community,” said Fivepoint CEO and President Emile Haddad in remarks to the gathering. “We promised this community would be inclusive, open and connected. Our goal was to allow people from every walk of life, every age, and from every corner of the world to make this their home, if they choose. We promised to keep and attract jobs here. Today, when I look at where we are, we have over 1,700 families who make this place home. We have seniors living on limited incomes who call this place home. Soon, we will have families of limited income who will say the same,” Haddad said. “They will be able to send their kids to the same quality schools. I hope as you walk around you’ll agree we’re delivering on those promises. We will work tirelessly to continue to fulfill those promises going forward.”
The evolution of Great Park Neighborhoods is apparent when touring the model homes and public spaces at Parasol Park, which is designed as a pedestrian-oriented, park-centric community. With Parasol Park, the homebuilders are focused on more vertical living. Described as an “in-town” neighborhood, it features attached and detached homes, but none that are typical single-family ranch or two story homes. Many have rooftop or third-floor decks. Some models have elevators to more easily access the loft-like lifestyle residents will enjoy.
The first of the Great Park Neighborhoods, Pavilion Park, north of Irvine Avenue, featured more traditional single-family detached homes, though the variety of design aesthetic available was more diverse than what Irvine homebuyers had come to expect. Next, Beacon Park opened with a mix of attached condominiums, townhouses and flats for those who appreciate a more urban lifestyle, as well as single-family homes. Beacon Park centers on both the whimsical outdoor park space, which has become a FivePoint design trademark, and also Beacon Park School, a middle school that will serve all of the neighborhoods.
The area includes 2.5-acre Parasol Park, the third in a series of innovative parks and playgrounds that have become centerpieces of Great Park Neighborhoods. The park is built around a heritage Parasol Pine tree, one of hundreds of heritage trees preserved from the former base, and it includes a zip line already popular with kids, as well as a community green house run by The Ecology Center from San Juan Capistrano. The greenhouse will host classes on gardening and sustainability, as well as provide community garden plots. The park also includes a community living room, outdoor kitchen, fireplace, playground, and multipurpose courts.
The new Great Park Sports Park will also be within an easy walk or bike ride from Parasol Park, as is a water-inspired park in the Great Park Neighborhoods that will include three pools, along with workout and wellness opportunities.
“This is a beautiful community,” said Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox in her remarks from the stage during the event. “The principles of diversity and inclusion here are absolutely what makes Irvine the best place to live,” Fox said, while also discussing innovations that may be coming to Irvine, such as a smart city grid and automated vehicles to shuttle students and seniors. “When the future arrives, we’re already going to be there.”