Skip to Content
  1. About
  2. Principles
  3. Leadership
  4. History
Legendary Architect, Ray Watson, Irvine Ranch Master Plan
Legendary architect, Ray Watson Irvine Ranch Master Plan

History

Since 1864, Irvine Company has been one of California’s largest landowners, evolving from a ranching and farming operation to one of the premier real estate investment companies and master planners in America.  Today, we’re known for our commitment to long-term ownership and management of a high-quality portfolio—the breadth and quality of which is unmatched in the country.

Timeline


Irvine Company Spectrum Center
2018

Irvine Company completes the world’s first fleet of Hybrid Electric Buildings featuring state-of-the-art Tesla Powerpack battery systems at 21 high-rise office buildings.

Irvine Open Space Reserves 57,000 acres
2014

Culminating 50 years of open space master planning, Irvine Company announces a major land gift of 2,500 acres near Anaheim Hills, East Orange, and Irvine Lake. These gifts bring the grand total of parklands and open space given by the Irvine Company to 57,500 acres, or approximately 60 percent of the Irvine Ranch.

93,000 acres of Open Space, Parks and Biking Trails
2010

Irvine Company designates an additional 20,000 acres to the County of Orange-bringing the total contribution of permanently preserved land to more than 55,000 acres, representing half the original 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch.

2006

More than 40,000 permanently protected acres of the 93,000 acre Irvine Ranch are designated a National Natural Landmark by the US Department of the Interior. Two years later, the same lands are named a California Natural Landmark - the first such designation - and marks the beginning of a new program for the state.

Equestrian Fremont Open Space
2005

The Irvine Ranch Land Reserve Trust is created to help ensure comprehensive protection and public access to the preserved lands. The trust is soon renamed the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, reflecting its increasingly active role in stewardship of the lands.

Fremont Canyon Irvine California
2001

Irvine Company designates 11,000 acres of pristine open space for permanent protection in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. This gift is the final link in a contiguous sweep of open space from coastal mountains to the sea on the historic Irvine Ranch.

Pelican Hill Golf Club
1998

Pelican Hill Club, a public restaurant and conference facility, opens adjacent to Tom Fazio designed Pelican Hill golf course.

Nature Reserve of Orange County
1996

Irvine Company contributed 21,000 acres to the Nature Reserve of Orange County, creating a massive contiguous habitat area home to a wide variety of rare plant and animal species and the vital ecosystems necessary to support their survival.

Irvine Spectrum Center Opens
1995

Irvine Spectrum Center opens immediately becoming popular with the local community as well as visitors from around the world. Today, it welcomes more than 17 million visitors annually.

Irvine Named America's Safest City
1992

The FBI names Irvine “America’s Safest Large City” for the first time, establishing a reputation that will help define the city as one of the most livable, family-friendly communities in the U.S.

La Jolla Gateway University Towne Center San Diego
1982

Irvine Company acquires its first San Diego buildings in 1982, with La Jolla Gateway in University Town Centre. Three decades later, the company continues to own and operate office properties in UTC, Downtown, Sorrento Mesa, Del Mar Heights and Mission Valley.

Crystal Cove State Park Horse and Rider overlooking Pacific Ocean
1979

Irvine Company transfers 2,791 acres of land to the State of California, which in turn becomes Crystal Cove State Park, preserving three and a half miles of precious coastline and priceless biological resources in the coastal foothills.

Donald Bren Purchased Irvine Company
1977

A group of investors, including Donald Bren, purchase Irvine Company from the James Irvine Foundation. Bren becomes majority owner in 1983 and sole owner in 1996.

Woodbridge in Irvine, 10,000 would-be homebuyers enter a lottery for the initial 350 homes
1976

On the first day of home sales of Woodbridge in Irvine, 10,000 would-be homebuyers enter a lottery for the initial 350 homes. The demand and instant sellout of the village’s first phase make national news.

Irvine incorporates, becoming Orange County’s 26th city.
1971

Irvine incorporates, becoming Orange County’s 26th city.

Irvine Company headquarters in Newport Beach is completed at 550 Newport Center Drive.
1969

Irvine Company headquarters in Newport Beach is completed at 550 and 500 Newport Center Drive.

Irvine Company and Irvine Ranch Water District become pioneers in the use of recycled water in Orange County, building the Michelson Water Recycling Plant that delivers two million gallons of water daily.
1967

Irvine Company and Irvine Ranch Water District become pioneers in the use of recycled water in Orange County, building the Michelson Water Recycling Plant that delivers two million gallons of water daily.

Irvine Company officials break ground on Newport Town Center (later renamed Fashion Island) a regional shopping center overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Newport Beach.
1966

Irvine Company officials break ground on Newport Town Center (later renamed Fashion Island) a regional shopping center overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Newport Beach.

Irvine Company introduces its first residential village - the 619 acre Village of Eastbluff - near Upper Newport Bay.
1964

Irvine Company introduces its first residential village - the 619 acre Village of Eastbluff - near Upper Newport Bay.

Acclaimed architect and urban planner William Pereira is commissioned to create a master plan to guide development and set standards for the entire Irvine Ranch.
1960

Acclaimed architect and urban planner William Pereira is commissioned to create a master plan to guide development and set standards for the entire Irvine Ranch. Master planning begins. Irvine Company sells 1,000 acres to University of California for $1 to build UC Irvine.

The Irvine Ranch hosts the International Boy Scout Jamboree, welcoming some 50,000 Scouts from all over the world.
1953

The Irvine Ranch hosts the International Boy Scout Jamboree, welcoming some 50,000 Scouts from all over the world. Today, a plaque at Fashion Island commemorates the events.

James Irvine II oversees installation of a sophisticated irrigation system on the ranch that includes the dam that created Irvine Lake.
1929

James Irvine II oversees installation of a sophisticated irrigation system on the ranch that includes the dam that created Irvine Lake.

1900

James Irvine II sets up permanent residence in the middle of the company’s agriculture operations. A replica is built on the site in 2018 and is now home to the Katie Wheeler Public Library.

Irvine Company makes its first land donation of 304 acres to the County of Orange for Irvine Regional Park.
1897

Irvine Company makes its first land donation of 304 acres to the County of Orange for Irvine Regional Park.

James Irvine and three partners purchase land in what’s now Orange County, Calif., ultimately forming the 93,000 acre Irvine Ranch.
1864

James Irvine and three partners purchase land in what’s now Orange County, California, ultimately forming the 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch.