Model homes going up on the site of the old Marine El Toro air base in Orange County, Calif., part of a planned community that will emphasize architectural and social diversity
Surveying this expanse -- in a sense his expanse -- Emile Haddad is willing to make just one concession to the stifling temperature, and that is to remove his suit jacket. His necktie stays on, firmly knotted in place. It is as if Haddad is too close to realizing his dream to go casual now.
As CEO of FivePoint Communities, a joint venture with national homebuilder Lennar, Haddad is just weeks away from opening the first phase of an audacious "master plan" community bolted onto the city of Irvine.
Irvine itself began as a planned community, famously carved out of the Irvine Ranch by the developer that gave the city its name and continues to build its beige, Italianate homes around the city's edges. FivePoint's massive project on the base it bought from the U.S. Navy signals the arrival of a new player in town and a rare opportunity to build a community that doesn't add to suburban sprawl. If all phases of the project are eventually built -- plans call for construction to continue beyond 2017 -- FivePoint's Great Park Neighborhoods will include nearly 10,000 new homes, 4 million square feet of commercial real estate, a sports complex within a park twice the size of New York's Central Park, and a wildlife corridor running all the way to the beach.
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