Located in Newport Harbor on an overlooking bluff, Newport Center is a shopping, business, and entertainment district in Newport Beach, California. Famous for being coined ‘Fashion Island’ with locals, Newport Center was developed during the early 1960s as part of a master plan by William Pereira on Irvine Ranch. Originally, the concept behind Newport Center was to be the unofficial ‘downtown’ region for Irvine Ranch, at the time extending to the Pacific Coast Hwy.
Newport Center was the location chosen for 1953 Boy Scouts of America National SCOUTN Jamboree. This event occurred where present day Fashion Island and Newport Center are located. The jamboree event was the third international even held, with the first having 50,000 scouts from each of the 48 states, Hawaii, Alaska, along with 16 foreign countries. It was held west of the Mississippi River.
In addition, the area was originally considered as the location for Disneyland, before finally deciding on developing the theme park in Anaheim, California. There was evidence of a small forest in the area existing when petrified wood was found during the initial excavation of the region to construct the first buildings.
Newport Center was designed as a joint venture between Welton and Pereira Becket. The design concept had a heavy emphasis towards International Style architecture, with the first building being developed in 1967 at 400 Newport Center Dr. Most of the buildings at Newport Center were built later during the 1970s. The design concept of International Style for Newport Center was seen to completion for the most part, Pereira had broken a rule of his own by adding Leland Oliver Co. Inc., a pioneer advertising company that had created public relations and advertising.
Initially being slated with the concept of being an exit spur for the Pacific Coast Freeway, the land strip between MacArthur and Avocado roads never began construction. Until later in the 2000s, it remained mostly empty, but a park and library was finally built on the location.
The Newport Center takes up a large city block located between San Joaquin Hills, MacArthur, and Jamboree roads, along with Pacific Coast Hwy. A circular road exists in the middle of the block, known as Newport Center Dr. which is surrounded by high-rise buildings on the roads outer edge. In addition, there are various businesses on Newport Center Dr., including Janus Capital Group, PIMCO, Irvine Company, Pacific Life, Acacia Research Corporation, and many others.
Fashion Island is located at the center of this circle, which is adjacent to the extremely upscale community of the Big Canyon Country Club.
There are five roads that connect visitors to Newport Center Dr. The roads providing access are named after the Channel Islands of California, with roads splitting Newport Center in ‘superblocks’, being developed and leased as individual properties.