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New Ducks Practice Facility In Irvine Is A 'Piece In A Puzzle That Will Become A Masterpiece'

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Anaheim Ducks new practice facility is at the Five Point Arena in Irvine
Anaheim Ducks' new practice facility is at the Five Point Arena in Irvine.

FivePoint CEO and Chairman Emile Haddad looked over one of the new gleaming ice rinks and smiled. 

Surrounded by television cameras and other media, Haddad basked in the Great Park Ice facility, something he believes will be a strong centerpiece to the growing Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

A former military air base, the 688-acre Great Park is owned by the city. In 2013, Irvine entered a public-private partnership with FivePoint to develop the land that includes a sports complex, nature reserve and park space.

"I'm very excited. I'm very proud," Haddad said to Bisnow after a ceremony March 7. "This is yet another piece in a puzzle that will eventually become a masterpiece for the Great Park." 

Anaheim Ducks hockey team owners Henry and Susan Samueli, the Irvine Ice Foundation and FivePoint held a grand opening to celebrate the new $110M, 280K SF Great Park Ice. The rink opened to the public earlier this year but some parts are still under construction. The facility should be fully completed by June, officials said.

Swinerton Builders was the general contractor. LPA Architects served as the architect.

The facility features four ice-skating rinks, administrative offices that will house Ducks employees, two snack bars, an 800 SF Ducks team store, a 1,900 SF pro shop, locker rooms, training facilities and more.

The centerpiece is the FivePoint Arena, which will have seating for 2,500 people and sports a video scoreboard above center ice and a press box. 

U.S. Figure Skating will use the arena as a training facility and NHL's Ducks are slated to start training here sometime next year, Swinerton Superintendent Nick Thomas said.

FivePoint Chairman and CEO Emile Haddad is interviewed about the Anaheim Ducks' new practice facility at the Five Point Arena in Irvine
FivePoint Chairman and CEO Emile Haddad is interviewed about the Anaheim Ducks' new practice facility at the Five Point Arena in Irvine.

Thomas said the new facility complements the surrounding area. He said upon walking up to the building, the outside glass features different shades of blue and has a wavy curved shape.

"That represents the ocean, the waves and the water," Thomas said. "It's kind of cool because you don't realize there's a metal building behind there. It's so unique."

The Irvine City Council approved the public-private partnership to build the facility in 2016, and construction began shortly thereafter. The Irvine Ice Foundation will operate and maintain the building. FivePoint owns the land. The Samuelis paid for the facility and signed a 30-year ground lease on the land, according to the LA Times.

No public money was used for the development, Haddad said. 

"The city of Irvine not only received this facility to elevate everything in Irvine but this new training facility is part of a sports complex that will be two and a half times larger than Disneyland," Haddad said.

Right next to the ice rink, USA Water Polo is proposing to build a $50M, three-pool water facility that will house the national water polo team.

Five Point Arena in Irvine
Five Point Arena in Irvine

Aside from the USA Water Polo building, there is more to come at the Great Park, Haddad said.

"We're also working with USA Volleyball," Haddad said. "Across the street there's vacant land, and we're planning to build a village with hotels, food and beverage ... My goal for this is to build a city that ... if you do it with the right balance, will create a place that people want to be."