CELEBRATING 150 YEARS
“Since its founding more than a century ago, the Irvine Company has been guided by a unique vision that continues to this day.”
— RAY WATSON
Irvine Company’s first architect and planner
— RAY WATSON
Irvine Company’s first architect and planner
Since the beginning, a deep and abiding respect for the land has guided virtually every step on The Irvine Ranch®.
Honoring the land and embracing a long-term view—these ideals began in 1864 with James Irvine and have been handed down through the decades, fostering and guiding the Irvine Company’s legacy and commitment to the land.
This commitment led the Irvine Company to eventually set aside approximately sixty percent of the 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch as parks and Open Space land areas; one of the largest urban open space land areas in the United States.
Today the public has access to these thousands of acres, representing an important chapter of land conservation and preservation.
Perhaps the best testament and example of Irvine Company’s established history as master planners and builders is the story and success of City of Irvine itself.
Not since World War II would one company have the opportunity to influence, plan and build an entire city. The plan for this modern city would be carefully thought, reflecting a balance of uses and housing types and establishing the highest standards of care for the land and the people who lived there.
As a centerpiece to the plan, the Company contributed 1,000 acres to the University of California system, which would later become the University of California, Irvine, a nationally acclaimed university and the city’s greatest asset.
Starting with a blank canvas of land enabled Irvine Company to powerfully demonstrate its unique attention to detail, planning acumen, and long-term commitment—an example that celebrates the last 150 years, and one of Irvine Company’s greatest achievements. This is the Irvine we know today.
James Irvine and three partners purchase 120,000 acres assembled through Mexican and Spanish land grants. The land will form The Irvine Ranch® — what many consider the finest example of master planning in the country.
The Irvine Company makes its first public land donation of 304 acres for Irvine Regional Park, formerly known as the “Picnic Grounds” to Orange County.
James Irvine offers right-of-way for Coast Highway to County. An attraction in itself, the highway runs alongside the coastline, providing access to coastal cities and communities, as well as parks, beaches, and other attractions.
James Irvine sets up permanent residence with a family home on The Irvine Ranch®.
Following the opening of the Coast Highway, Irvine Company® starts development of The Irvine Beach & Country Club Estates, which later will became known as Shore Cliffs & Corona Highlands.
Exemplifying Irvine Company’s history of philanthropy, the James Irvine Foundation is created in 1937 to provide financial aid for privately supported educational and charitable institutions.
The site of Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach is made possible by a 17.7-acre donation from James Irvine.
The Irvine Company develops Westcliff, Harbor Highlands, Baycrest, Cameo Shores and Cameo Highlands. Irvine Cove is developed with custom lots. Several members of Irvine family build homes there, in “Family Cove.”
The Irvine Ranch® hosts the International Boy Scout Jamboree, welcoming some 50,000 Scouts from all over the world. The gathering takes place just north of Pacific Coast Highway, between Jamboree Road (named after the event) and MacArthur Boulevard in Newport Beach. Today, a plaque at Fashion Island® commemorates the event.
Irvine Coast Country Club constructed between Corona Del Mar and Newport.
Acclaimed architect and urban planner William Pereira is commissioned to create a master plan to guide development and set standards for the entire Irvine Ranch. The original master plan calls for 10,400 acres, roughly 11 percent of the 93,000-acre Ranch, to be set-aside as parks and Open Space land. Master-planning begins. The Irvine Company sells (for one dollar) 1,000 acres to the University of California on which to build UC Irvine.
The first shopping center on Irvine Ranch opens with completion of Westcliff Plaza at 17th Street and Irvine Boulevard
The Irvine Ranch introduces its first village – the Village of Eastbluff
Groundbreaking for Newport Town Center (to be named Fashion Island), a regional shopping center at the junction of MacArthur Boulevard and Jamboree Road, is the most ambitious undertaking yet proposed under the Master Plan.
The Irvine Company® begins construction on its first apartment project, Mariner Square.
The Irvine Company® headquarters in Newport Beach are completed at 550 and 500 Newport Center Drive.
Irvine incorporates, becoming Orange County’s 26th city, population 14,231.
The Company transfers 2,791 acres of land to the State of California, which in turn becomes Crystal Cove State Park, preserving three and a half miles of precious coastline and priceless biological resources in the coastal foothills.
The Irvine Company® acquires its first San Diego buildings in 1982, with La Jolla Gateway in University Towne Centre. Three decades later, the company continues to own and operate office properties in UTC, Downtown, Sorrento Mesa, Del Mar Heights and Mission Valley.
Irvine Spectrum® takes shape, conceived and developed under the Irvine Company’s Master plan to create a balanced district of retail, office, and living space.
The FBI names Irvine “America’s Safest Large City” for the first time, establishing a reputation that will help define the city.
Irvine Spectrum Center opens 1995, becoming immediately popular with the local community as well as with visitors from around the world. The center was anchored by Edwards 21 Cinemas movie theater, largest in the western United States at that time. Host to an array of shopping and dining experiences, this iconic center has become as familiar a site as many long-time Southern California landmarks.
The Irvine Company contributes 21,000 acres to The Nature Reserve of Orange County, thus creating a massive contiguous habitat area containing a wide variety of rare plant and animal species and the vital eco-systems necessary to support their survival.
Pelican Hill Club, a public restaurant and conference facility, opens adjacent to Pelican Hill golf courses, designed by Tom Fazio.
The Irvine Company designates 11,000 acres of pristine Open Space for permanent protection in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. This gift is the final link in a contiguous sweep of Open Space from the coastal mountains to the sea on the historic Irvine Ranch
The Irvine Company’s North Park Apartment Community – the largest apartment community in Silicon Valley – opens in San Jose, California.
The Irvine Ranch Land Reserve Trust is created to help ensure comprehensive protection and public access to the preserved lands. The trust is soon renamed the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, reflecting its increasingly active role in stewardship of the lands.
40,000 permanently protected acres of the 93,000 acre Irvine Ranch® are designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior, following rigorous scientific review. Two years later, in 2008, the same lands are named a California Natural Landmark — the first such designation — and marks the beginning of a new program for the state.
After its highly anticipated expansion is complete in 2008, Pelican Hill Resort® becomes a world-class destination — featuring two world-class golf courses, five-star amenities, unrivaled customer service, and exquisite dining experiences,
The Irvine Company® designates the final 20,000 acres it still owns to the County of Orange – bringing the total contribution of permanently preserved land to more than 50,000 acres, representing more than half of the original 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch®.
The Irvine Company® announces that Irvine Pacific®, a wholly-owned affiliate, will build a series of homes in the newest Village of Irvine, Stonegate East.
Condé Nast Traveler readers ranked The Resort at Pelican Hill® as Southern California’s Top Resort in the luxury travel magazine’s globally respected survey.
More than 1,500 people attend the grand opening of Los Olivos Apartment Village, Orange County’s newest apartment community set amid tranquil coastal hills and the vibrancy of Irvine Spectrum Center.
Fashion Island® celebrates its 45-year anniversary adding 22,000-square feet of retail space. As a result of reinvestment, more than 40 stores and restaurants have opened at Fashion Island since early 2010, including Nordstrom, a first-ever Ella Moss, and a relocated Apple Store that’s the largest in Orange County. Now open, Whole Foods Market joins the roster of new stores and restaurants coming to the Center over the next year.
Culminating more than 50 years of open space master planning, the Irvine Company announces a major land gift of 2,500 acres near Anaheim Hills, East Orange, and Irvine Lake. The gift brings the grand total of parklands and open space given by the Irvine Company to nearly 55,000 acres, or approximately 60% of the 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch.
Communities that work seamlessly. Apartments that feel like homes. Offices that offer innovative workspaces and extensive amenities. Resorts that refresh the mind and soul. Open space that’s protected forever. These are examples of how long-range vision can bring balance, opportunity and bring inspiration and meaning to people’s lives.
Much has taken place during the 150-year history of The Irvine Company. Since 1864, the Company has not only shaped the geographic landscape but continues to influence the quality and consistency of life in and beyond The Irvine Ranch.
As we move forward, we thank our community, our partners, and all those who participated in the story, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Let the next 150 years begin.
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