Wild about Wild Rivers

In April, Bisnow Orange County reported that about how 100 acres of county-owned land at the site of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station was a unique blank slate. Now hear this: Wild Rivers is coming back, and plans for the rest of the site are being formulated.

Over the summer, the Orange County Board of Supervisors entered into a 25-year lease with Wild Rivers Irvine to construct a new water park on 17 acres. Orange County manager of land development and renewable energy initiatives James Campbell tells us that the goal is to have the new water park open in May 2014 (James, right, is with Wild Rivers’ Mike Ridel at the site, along with an inner tube, a little ahead of schedule). Before the original Wild Rivers was closed to make way for apartment development, the park was the largest employer of high school students in Orange County (naturally parents of OC teens want it back).

The Board also selected Lowe Enterprises as master development partner for the remaining 85 acres of county property at El Toro. The County and Lowe are negotiating a contract and intend to take it to the board in December, James says. Late last year, JLL and the Planning Center prepared a preliminary conceptual site plan and market assessment that evaluated residential, flex-tech/business park, hospitality, mini-storage, and educational/recreational uses. (If you fall asleep on an inner tube, does that count as residential?)

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