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The Other Irvine: Jamboree Village

This is the third series of three parts about the Irwin Business Complex, or IBC, and the unique opportunities and challenges it offers to those who work and live there … and the city as a whole.


Rendering of the proposed Creekwalk Linear Park along San Diego Creek

“Public and neighborhood parks; well-maintained streets; pedestrian pedestrian parks, sidewalks and bike paths; community centers with classes and leisure opportunities; shopping malls within walking distance and by bike; Gas station; a wide selection of restaurants: all this is liked by the residents of Irwin. But the thousands of people who now live and come to IBC will soon not have equal access to these benefits in their urban villages. That’s why they have to go to their neighbors. “
– Irvine City News, December 27, 2016

Ten years after the adoption of Irwin’s business vision plan, the only part of it that has been implemented is the nearly 15,000 residential units it allows.

Retail, entertainment and nightlife are rare or non-existent. The plan about five years ago to turn the former St. John’s Knights campus into an entertainment center failed. It is still an office building.

The IBC has no facilities or systems for pedestrian accessibility or mobility of residents. There’s no creekwalk, no conversion of rails to trails. There are no pedestrian bridges, but construction may begin this year on Jamboree Road and Michelson Drive.

“Irwin’s business complex is Irwin’s last big unfulfilled dream of urban planning,” said a council member. Larry Agran.

Agran and some others would like to get engaged. He proposes to speed up deadlines for pedestrian bridges and transform trails, two components of a vision plan that are “feasible” in the near future. Agran would also like to convene an advisory board of residents, business owners, planners and architects to help continue work on city planning and offer creative suggestions and solutions.

And he would like to see the district have its own urban identity, and work with it. It involves well-maintained promenades, public art, expanding retail, and entertainment and nightlife. He calls his concept “Jamboree Village”.

Walkie Talkie and Michael RayThe owners of Sanderson J Ray Development, which built the luxury Skyloft residential complex on Jamboree and Main Street, have invested heavily in the IBC / Jamboree Village area and offered specific ideas.

Michael Ray noted that the fundamental shift towards remote work caused by the pandemic has severely weakened demand for office space. He suggested that the city adopt rules that allow you to convert office space into living space. He also said the trolleybus and possibly the city’s partnerships with companies like Uber could significantly increase mobility.

Walkie Ray says the area “needs more retail” as well as entertainment venues. He suggests the latter could use parking agreements with neighboring facilities to accommodate evening visitors.

And he agrees with Agran that the area needs a more catchy name than the Irvine Business Complex.

“It’s a branding practice,” he said, citing as an example an area where both the business center and the shopping and entertainment mecca could be created internationally, in Los Angeles’s Miracle Mile along Wilshire Boulevard.

So will Jamboree Village become the next super cool urban neighborhood on the Southern California scene? Maybe, says Agran.

“The village of Jamboree has great unrealized potential as a vibrant and attractive urban core,” he said. “I believe that the ongoing efforts of the city and society can create something unique in Orange County: a mixed business and residential area with an urban sensitivity.”

Recent reports by Roger Bloom (see everything)



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