The City of Irvine may tap Almquist to add restaurants to an expanded Great Park, as well as build a shopping center at its adjacent Great Park Neighborhoods.
The city has begun exclusive negotiations with the San Juan Capistrano-based developer to add dining to its $1 billion park expansion, while constructing a grocery-anchored retail center at Bosque and Great Park Boulevard next door, the Orange County Business Journal reported.
Terms of a pending deal were not disclosed.
Almquist could add an unspecified number of restaurants as the city expands its Great Park to 1,300 acres, triple its current size. The park and surrounding neighborhoods were carved out of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, which closed in 1999.
When complete, Great Park will be larger than the 1,200-acre Balboa Park in San Diego, the 843-acre Central Park in New York and the 1,017-acre Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
But it won’t come close to surpassing the 4,310-acre Griffith Park in Los Angeles.
For its Great Park expansion, Irvine will commit $810 million for an initial phase that will include a central lake, museum complex, botanical garden, veteran’s memorial park and possibly an outdoor amphitheater.
Almquist will redevelop Hangar 244 into a food hall. The deal would include a restaurant next to the central lake and pop-up food and beverage stands along a central path. The size and cost of the projects were not disclosed.
The developer plans to recruit local and national restaurant brands, with the first phase expected to be complete in 2032.
“I’ve never had this type of canvas to work with,” Dan Almquist, CEO of the firm, told the Business Journal. “It’s a massive project, and to be able to play a small part in it is really special.”
Also, Almquist was chosen to build the grocery-anchored shopping center on 5.5 acres in Great Park Neighborhoods, owned by Irvine-based Five Point Holdings. It’s not clear whether the firm has approvals to build the project.
Formerly known as Frontier Real Estate Investments, Almquist was behind Rodeo 39 Public Market, a 40,000-square-foot food hall in Stanton that opened in 2020.
The developer is now building River Street Marketplace, a 60,000-square-foot farmhouse-style outdoor mall to open this fall in San Juan Capistrano.
— Dana Bartholomew