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Beautiful day for the neighborhood

Development group for Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine says formerly stalled project is now a go.

January 17, 2011|By Sarah Peters, sarah.peters@latimes.com
  • An artist rendering of what Main Street in the Great Park Neighborhood will look like.
An artist rendering of what Main Street in the Great Park… (Daily Pilot )

IRVINE — The first-phase plans for the development of nearly 5,000 homes and 1.2 million square feet of commercial space to ring around the Orange County Great Park was submitted to the city by project officials this week.

Five Point Communities LLC, the development manager of Great Park Neighborhoods, announced that the formerly stalled project would be moving forward with land-grading and infrastructure to begin as early as the end of this year.

The announcement comes in the wake of a $400-million recapitalization in new cash and credit signed by a new lender, Boston-based State Street Bank & Trust Co.

Under the agreement, Lehman Brothers Holding Inc., which formerly held the loan, wrote down debt on the development from $625 million to $210 million and State Street provided a $180-million line of credit. Additionally, about $200 million in fresh capital was invested by Lennar Corp., LNR Property LLC, Rockpoint Group LLC and MSD Capital LP.

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"It is very unusual in today's world to be talking about a project of this magnitude as one that is moving forward," Emile Haddad, chief executive officer of Five Point, said at a press conference this week. "We are now looking at one of the few projects of this size in the country that … has fresh capital that is ready to propel it forward."

The first phase of home construction is expected to be complete, with homeowners already moving in, by 2013, Haddad said.

Plans have been submitted for homes that range in sizes and price ranges from $400,000 to "north of a million," Haddad said.

However, Haddad could not say how many homes would be built in the first wave of construction; that will depend on the number of homes that the housing market can absorb at that time.

"If you are telling me that we're still going to be in a recession in 2013, then what that means is that we might have to adjust how many homes we put up," Haddad explained. "I, for one, believe that 2013 is going to be a healthier year than 2010 and 2011."

Along with homes, the developer will also be creating more than 1 million square feet of space designed for retail, recreational, office, research and development, and education purposes, according to a press release.

Included throughout the development will be neighborhood parks with trails and bike paths that connect to the adjoining Great Park.

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