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Council OKs Moving Ahead With Uptown Newport Project

The project will include housing, retail spaces and parks.

The Uptown Newport Project, which is expected to bring housing, retail space and parks to an industrial area of the city, will keep progressing following the approval of several measures from the Newport Beach City Council.

At it's Tuesday night meeting, the council voted 6-0, with Councilman Tony Petros abstaining, to approve key elements of the project including the environmental impact report, tentative tract map and a development agreement. Located at the east edge of the John Wayne Airport area, the Uptown Newport Project will be built on Jamboree Road, between Birch Street and MacArthur Boulevard.

The Irvine-based Shopoff Group is the developer of the project which is scheduled to include 1,244 residential units, 11,500 square feet of retail use and two acres of park space. William Shopoff, the group's president and CEO, says the project will also bring about 2,800 construction jobs to Newport Beach. Shophoff says the group has worked closely with the Planning Commission to make sure its a "quality project."

"We've created ample parking, including structure parking and on-site parking for the visitors and retail," Shopoff said. "Also there is easy access to get to the parks and the retail areas."

But resident Jim Mosher addressed the City Council saying the project does not fit the 2006 general plan's vision to create a "self-sufficient urban village."

"Uptown Newport remains an isolated island of residential high rises plopped down in he middle of some office buildings," Mosher said.

Mosher added he is worried residents will not have necessary amenities including nearby schools, and said the project will "lead to more traffic and more inconvenience in the area."

City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle addressed some of Mosher's concerns by saying the vision of the 2006 general plan was "to bring new vitality into this area."

Mayor Pro Tem Rush Hill called the Uptown Newport Project "very exciting and very appropriate for the airport area."

Construction on the project will be done in two phases, beginning this year and slated to be completed in 2021.

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