The team behind the planned new ocV!BE complex in Anaheim is hoping that the wide-ranging, $3bn (£2.3bn/€2.6bn) project can prove transformational for Orange County.

Plans for the new 115-acre mixed-use community and live entertainment district were first revealed in June. The district will surround Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks NHL ice hockey team.

A vision of the Samueli Family, who own the Ducks, ocV!BE will feature a range of entertainment facilities, from intimate clubs to a new 6,000-capacity venue. The project team is being led by Dan Young, the former president of Irvine Company Community Development.

Honda Center opened in 1993 and it is hoped the ambitious ocV!BE project will breathe new life into the arena and the surrounding area.

“ocV!BE will be a full-fledged mixed-use community, complete with dining, retail, hotels, office space and parks,” ocV!BE spokesman Matt Hicks tells TheStadiumBusiness.com. “This includes over 2,800 residential units, more than 30 acres of public space, and a walkable, transit-oriented environment with pedestrian bridges and walkways.”

Over the past 12 months, California has seen the opening of two major new sports venues in the shape of Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium, home of the Rams and Chargers NFL teams, and San Francisco’s Chase Center, home of the Golden State Warriors NBA franchise.

ocV!BE would become the latest addition to the state’s ever-expanding venue portfolio but the team is confident that its project will stand out from the crowd and prove “transformational” for Orange County’s more than three million residents.

“ocV!BE seeks to be authentically Orange County in its design and feel,” says Hicks. “In addition, this project differs in scale, with ocV!BE encompassing 115 acres in the heart of Southern California, providing the opportunity to build a full mixed-use development, with dining, retail, hospitality, office and residential uses. ocV!BE is not just a place but a lifestyle, embracing a live, work, play environment of scale and scope not currently seen in Orange County.

“The leadership and project team of ocV!BE visited various live entertainment districts across the county, and met with leadership to understand lessons learned. We believe ocV!BE is truly unique in its design and focus.”

Although details of the project were only unveiled in the summer, ocV!BE has been over two years in the making. While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented an “unexpected challenge” for the project, the impact has been limited given that groundbreaking is still some way off.

“As ocV!BE is still in the planning phase, the project is designed for the future, when this pandemic is hopefully well behind us, and we can all gather again safely and share unforgettable experiences together,” Hicks explains.

It is hoped that the district can open in 2024 and be fully completed in time for Los Angeles’ hosting of the Olympic Games in 2028, when Honda Center is scheduled to stage indoor volleyball competitions.

ocV!BE will be working with City of Anaheim leadership and staff on the process moving forward, with a project application set to be put together over the next year. A conceptual design was submitted in the summer and a full project application will be entered by the end of 2020. Construction would begin once the project has been approved.

The development would create nearly 13,000 construction jobs and 3,300 permanent jobs upon completion, and generate more than $2bn in one-time economic impact, according to analysis conducted by public finance and development economics firm DTA.

“Additionally, we expect a benefit of more than $400m in annual recurring economic impact,” says Hicks. “Revenue generated by the project will assist the City of Anaheim in its efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as enhance neighbourhoods and public safety.”

Honda Center is located a short walk from Angel Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball team. In June, shortly before plans for ocV!BE were first unveiled, the City of Anaheim detailed wide-ranging plans to transform the area around Angel Stadium into a mixed-use development featuring parks, shops, residential spaces and restaurants.

The project has been dubbed ‘The Big A: 2050’ and would look to keep the Angels in Anaheim for the next 30-plus years. At the time, Young said that the Ducks and the Angels had worked together to avoid duplicating development and the two projects are set to complement each other rather than cause a conflict.

“ocV!BE’s master plan is designed to be successful on its own merits, however, we are encouraged by the Angels’ interest in a mixed-use development, and our common interest in building upon the vision of the Anaheim Platinum Triangle,” says Hicks. “Our project team has been in conversation with the Angels to ensure our two projects are compatible, including roadways and circulation between the two sites. However, we are independently designing our site and its uses.”

Earlier this month, ocV!BE appointed sponsorship sales and consultancy agency Premier Partnerships to assist in the evaluation and go-to-market commercial strategy for the project.

Images: ocV!BE