Preview of the Great Park Neighborhoods Attracts More than 12,000

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The July 12 "Discover the Great Park Neighborhoods" event provided a first look at the neighborhoods that will surround the Orange County Great Park.

Great Park Neighborhoods

The idea behind Saturday's event was to create an atmosphere that communicated the feeling associated with that kind of community.

It was unlike any community preview event. People were shopping and browsing interesting stores on a lively main street, escaping the July sun under the shade of 40-50 year-old trees, and eating lunch while watching children play on a one-of-a-kind tree house.

They were discovering the Great Park Neighborhoods during a special first look at what life will be like at the new master planned community coming to the Orange County Great Park this fall.

"We are moving forward with our plan for the Great Park Neighborhoods and we wanted give people a taste of what the first phase will be like," said Carol Wold, vice president of community affairs for Lennar, the master developer of the Great Park Neighborhoods. "Judging from the positive feedback and activity on Saturday, people are excited about our vision."

In fact, more than 12,000 Orange County and Southern California residents experienced the July 12 "Discover the Great Park Neighborhoods" event held in concert with the City of Irvine's "Festival of Flight" event at the former El Toro Marine Base.

The simultaneous events celebrated the unique public-private partnership with the City of Irvine that will transform the former El Toro Marine Base into the Orange County Great Park and the Great Park Neighborhoods, which will consist of three distinct neighborhoods surrounding the Great Park that will be special places to live, work, shop, and play.

The first of the three neighborhoods, expected to break ground this fall, will be a lifelong learning neighborhood that will include a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment choices as well as sites for future educational institutions.

"With respected educational institutions among its characteristics, this first neighborhood will be designed to remind people of a college town with a cozy, lively main street," said Wold. "The idea behind Saturday's event was to create an atmosphere that communicated the feeling associated with that kind of community."

The "Discover the Great Park Neighborhoods" event featured three distinct elements designed to illustrate different aspects of the Great Park Neighborhoods' first phase - a life-size, interactive Main Street, a Tree Plaza, and a one-of-a-kind tree house.

Guests toured the interactive Main Street and enjoyed shopping and dining experiences, including a café, art gallery, bike store, farmer's market, and coffee and flower carts. Built inside a refurbished hangar, known as Hangar 10, the innovative preview included a series of computer-animated videos that offered guests a glimpse of life at the first neighborhood at the Orange County Great Park (click here to view videos).

Outside Hangar 10, guests sipped lemonade and ate hot dogs and Santa Maria barbecue under the shade of some of the more than 750 trees saved from the former El Toro Marine Base that were arranged into a Tree Plaza. These trees, many of which are 40-50 years old, will be among the 25,000 that will be a part of the Great Park Neighborhoods.

"Mature, full-grown trees like the ones we have rescued from the base will add a unique character to the Great Park Neighborhoods," said Wold.

Next to Hangar 10 and the Tree Plaza, kids of all ages scrambled around the one-of-a-kind tree house constructed partly of salvaged aviation parts and El Toro Marine Base materials that demonstrated how the future parks planned for the Great Park Neighborhoods will be different.

In addition to learning about the Great Park Neighborhoods, event guests enjoyed live music performances, dog adoptions from the Orange County Humane Society, fun giveaways, and orange bike raffles. Four dogs went home with new families at the event and eight lucky people won new orange bicycles.

About the Great Park Neighborhoods
Together through a unique public-private partnership, the City of Irvine and the Great Park Neighborhoods are working closely to transform the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station into the Orange County Great Park and the Great Park Neighborhoods - a vibrant new community in Irvine. As they are developed, the Great Park Neighborhoods will provide the tax revenue to finance and build the Orange County Great Park at no cost to current taxpayers. With the 1,347-acre Great Park as the focal point, Lennar's Great Park Neighborhoods will consist of three distinct neighborhoods, including a lifelong learning neighborhood, a park district with a variety of residential choices and recreational uses, and a transit-oriented district near the Irvine Transportation Center. The first phase of the Great Park Neighborhoods, a lifelong learning neighborhood featuring a variety of retail and residential choices and an innovative blend of educational and research institutions, will break ground in the fall of 2008. For more information, please visit http://www.greatparkneighborhoods.com.
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Marcus Ginnaty
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