By Kimberly Pierceall
Tech giant Broadcom appears likely to move to a 2 million square-foot corporate campus near the Great Park after Irvine’s planning commission voted 4-1 Thursday to approve a master plan for the project.
The plan presented by developer FivePoint Communities is for eight office buildings ranging in height from two to six stories and a 34,000-square-foot fitness center with a sand volleyball court to be built on 78 acres.
Most of the Planning Commission’s discussion centered around a plan to build a bridge — a large one about 300 feet long and 100 feet wide — across an as-yet-unbuilt stretch of the city’s Marine Way road that would connect to the Great Park. It was criticized for potentially having the the look and feel of a dark tunnel.
Commissioner Mary Ann Gaido said the bridge — intended to be a plaza or gathering place for the company — is why she cast the only no vote against the master plan. She didn’t like the look of it and also thought it was a land giveaway to the developer since the large bridge and pedestrian plaza would hover above a public road, she said.
Commissioner Greg Smith disagreed that the bridge over Marine Way would resemble a tunnel and called the overall project “outstanding.”
“I get a little uncomfortable when we get in the design business,” he said of criticism of the plan’s aesthetic look.
FivePoint expects the campus to be constructed by 2017. It would sell the land to — presumably — Broadcom and that company would build the campus.
Much attention has been paid to where Broadcom and its several thousand tech jobs might end up – Irvine, Tustin or elsewhere – after its lease of Irvine Company office space near UC Irvine ends.
A Broadcom representative wouldn’t comment after the meeting if the vote meant the company would no longer look for a new headquarters location.
While Broadcom wasn’t mentioned by name in the published staff report for the meeting, and only mentioned during the meeting by city staff once to announce that representatives from company were in the audience and available for questions from the commission, it hasn’t been a secret that the company might move there.