“I think this is an opportunity to bring the community together and directly address so many of people’s concerns,” said Newport Beach resident Karen Tringali, who opposes the February ballot measure to build City Hall by the library.
Proponents of the plan believe the Irvine Co. plan gives the city an option to buy a site that would be cheaper to build on than the city-owned site by the library.
The $27 million from the Irvine Co. would be a development fee that could be used to build a new city hall or other municipal buildings. The development agreement also includes an option for Newport Beach to purchase a site in the 500 block of Newport Center between Santa Rosa Drive and San Nicholas Drive for a new city hall at the city’s appraised value.
“The 500 block site is the lowest-cost site, and it’s right smack-dab in the middle of Newport Center,” said Councilman Keith Curry, who opposes the proposed site next to the library.
To accommodate the Irvine Co. proposed city hall site, 72,000 of 278,000 square feet of undeveloped land designated for offices would be transferred to block 500 of Newport Center.
Bill Ficker, lead proponent of the ballot measure from the group City Hall in the Park, said it would take time for him to process the Irvine Co.’s proposal, but said it was still up for the public to decide where the next city hall should go.
“It’s too soon to comment, but there’s still an election in February,” Ficker said.
As part of the deal, zoning for the area would create a new planned community, that would merge two blocks of Newport Center, Fashion Island and San Joaquin Plaza to form North Newport Center Planned Community.