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Closing time nears for Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre

By Antonie Boessenkool

Since it opened in 1981, the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre has hosted such historic shows as Michael Jackson on his 1988 “Bad” tour and top-selling acts like Bob Dylan and Coldplay.

But next spring through fall will see the final performances before the 16,000-capacity amphitheater is torn down. With that, Orange County will lose its largest outdoor music venue. Prospects for a replacement appear to be years off, at best.

Late last month, Jimmy Buffett played the last concert of the amphitheater’s 2015 season. The lease that concert promoter Live Nation holds for the property will expire in 2017. And the Irvine Co., which owns the land, will begin building the second phase of its Los Olivos apartment development on the site.

Here are four things to know about the shutdown of Irvine Meadows and what it means.

Why is the Irvine Co. closing Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, and what will it do with the property?

Irvine Meadows opened in 1981 and at different times shared the 500-acre swath of land with a drive-through animal park and a water park. Both of those have since closed. After the Wild Rivers Waterpark shut down in 2011, the Irvine Co. built the first of two phases of its Los Olivos apartment community on its former site, opening the development in 2013.

“This parcel of land was always meant to transition to a more permanent use,” said Irvine Co. spokesman Bill Lobdell. The plan the company put forth in 2006, to build housing next to Irvine Spectrum businesses, will ensure the city’s long-term economic health. “With the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre lease expiring in early 2017, the final phase of that plan can then go forward.”

Already, 1,750 apartment units have been built, the first phase of Los Olivos. Rents range from $1,785 to $3,125 a month for those apartments. Construction on the second phase will start soon after the amphitheater lease ends. That phase will be 1,950 apartments and will cover what is now the amphitheater’s parking lot.

Continue reading at the Orange County Register…

Please Help #SaveLiveMusicIrvine

Text the Word ‘MUSIC’ to 40649