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Angels Stadium Search Series: Irvine

So far we've looked at Montebello and Long Beach as our options. Montebello was one that was a bit of a dark horse, Long Beach being one of the favorites of the fans. Our third option looks at another fan-dividing location, one which caters to one demographic of fans but moves the team further from the preferred market.

This sort of view is just a FRACTION of the land mass available to the Angels in Irvine.
This sort of view is just a FRACTION of the land mass available to the Angels in Irvine.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Montebello and Long Beach weren't quite your style?

Well, maybe this next location is. It's by far the largest of our locations in terms of available area. Realistically, it even has far more area than I'm going to list, but much of it has structures already in place that, whether easy or not to remove/demolish, would possibly be better left untouched. So the acreage that I list for this location is what is directly available with nothing on that property.


The 327 acres I'm referring to are the ones specifically bounded by the former El Toro Marine Base runway, Irvine Boulevard, State Route 133 and Trabuco Road. The area where the runway is itself occupies almost 800 additional acres that could or could not very well be in play. For the sake of argument, though, we'll refer specifically to the acreage located northwest of the runway, where nothing lies except some unpaved and empty streets.

Speaking of streets, how many are there to get to this stadium? Well, let's give it a look on the freeways...

Interstate 405 Jeffrey Road northeast, right on Trabuco Road or Irvine Boulevard
Sand Canyon Road northeast, right on Trabuco Road or Irvine Boulevard
Interstate 5 Jeffrey Road northeast, right on Trabuco Road or Irvine Boulevard
Sand Canyon Road northeast, right on Trabuco Road or Irvine Boulevard
State Route 241 Alton Parkway southwest, right on Irvine Boulevard
Portola Parkway northwest, left on Ridge Valley
State Route 133 Irvine Boulevard southeast

Interesting to note: the options from the interstates are both exactly the same, and the more direct routes both come off of toll roads. There is nothing for Arte to profit from these toll roads; only fans with FasTrak passes can access these direct routes. This is a move that directly benefits The Toll Roads, the company which operates their namesake. Why? Because the option of a fan without a FasTrak is twofold: either they can purchase and consistently reload a FasTrak pass...or they attempt to brave either Interstate 5 or Interstate 405--the only two free-access interstates that transverse the city (the 405, in fact, reaches its southern terminus in the city, at the southeastern boundary of the Irvine Spectrum).

As far as public transit is concerned, there is, unlike our previous two locations, access to both Amtrak and Metrolink trains. The stadium site is a bit of a walk from both the Amtrak and Metrolink stations in Irvine--about a mile to a mile and a half of walking--but the train access is clearly there.

There is a lot for Arte Moreno to do with this abundance of land. He can build a stadium with sprawling parking, not a single garage to be found, as is the current situation in Anaheim. However, the Anaheim land is approximately 160 acres. Even if we were to plant the exact blueprint of Angel Stadium and its parking lots onto this land, there would still be 167 acres left to develop.

Guess what? Arte gets to develop his shopping, dining and housing.

But really, how much shopping and dining is there to develop? The Irvine Spectrum is less than a two-mile drive away from the stadium. I mean, that's certainly not going to restrict a man who is adamant to create an entire ballpark village with whatever land he can get. And that doesn't necessarily mean Arte wants to put strip malls, fashion centers and restaurants galore on this site. Perhaps he wants to develop office space, high rises...who knows? Only he does. The point, however, is that he will have, at the very least, 167 acres to develop whatever he pleases after a stadium and adequate parking are constructed.

Is there even any caveat to this site?

Actually, yes. Not quite red flags, but a few yellow warning flags to be found. Firstly, as prior mentioned, out of the four freeways that provide direct access to the stadium site, two require tolls. Many fans, especially fans from outside of southern Orange County, could be deterred by the prospect of having to either buy a FasTrak/constantly pay "one time tolls", or leave four hours before game time just to make sure they can park their cars in time on the 5 or 405 once they pass the South Coast Metro.

Secondly (and this comes from my personal experiences in Irvine), Irvine is not exactly what you would call a town keen on night life. They sleep early. I remember a particular instance where almost all restaurants and shops were closed by 6:30 PM...on a Saturday night. All that was open were some gas stations and a Domino's Pizza. Anyway, the fact that the town seems to go to bed early might not be conducive to a baseball team, whose bulk of business is done when the sun is about to set. Thus, night games are going to make some residents...unhappy. Especially when, directly west of SR-133 and directly north of Irvine Boulevard, several housing developments exist.

Thirdly, if we're assuming that Arte wants to move the team CLOSER to its principal market, then wouldn't moving to Irvine be counterproductive? Irvine is approximately 42 miles from downtown Los Angeles; the team's current home in Anaheim is 28 miles from DTLA. Granted, much of the team's fanbase is in Orange County, though Irvine is no more centric (and is actually probably LESS centric) than Anaheim within Orange County. What this move does is put the team closer to the bulk of its luxury suite renters and season ticket holders.

Let's look at this once more. The land available in Irvine is land you won't find almost anywhere else within the Greater Los Angeles Area (at least, not without venturing more into the Inland Empire and/or High Desert, which is almost completely infeasible the further you go). The potential for land development on this property is through the roof. However, the accessibility is limited if toll roads are not an option for you, which will drive up traffic even more grossly than it already is. The potential for noise complaints and residential opposition is abundant. And moving to Irvine is a big biting of the thumb to Angelenos.

Like the possibility of Irvine? If not--and if you didn't like Montebello or Long Beach--there are two more options left. But I must warn you: these two will undoubtedly upset the apple cart.