Irvine Spectrum, as seen in the distance, is approximately one mile from 16,000 acres of open space that connects to the coast through a series of trails.

Irvine’s competitive advantage

President of Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce shares secret to the city's success

by BRYAN STARR

President and CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber

As an Irvine resident, I have always been pleased to learn of the distinctions our city receives for being a great place to live and do business.

Now, as the President and CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber, directing the organization’s mission to promote Irvine, I am keenly aware of the reason we have emerged as one of America’s great cities: it’s our balanced Master Plan. Many cities have ample housing but few jobs. Some have plenty of jobs but few parks or open spaces. Some communities may not be safe.

I suspect you can think of nearby cities that struggle with one or more of these shortcomings. But Irvine has it all when it comes to extraordinary attributes.

The Irvine difference is the Master Plan. It is our competitive advantage and it has created a balanced community that includes everything needed for a great city with schools, parks, shops, and strategically placed job centers.

Just as this balance attracts families, it attracts the world’s best companies, which generates jobs. Irvine has nearly one job for every resident – a balance that is among the best in America.

One example is Vincit California, an app development company, which expanded from Finland to Irvine Spectrum by way of Silicon Valley.

After starting its U.S. venture in the Bay Area’s tech center, Vincit realized that happy, qualified employees would be the key to the company’s success. Irvine was ready to fill the bill.

“We love the live-work-play balance Irvine offers,” Ville Houttu, Vincit’s California CEO, told me during a visit to his Irvine Spectrum office. He says it is a balance that’s hard to find. And it is why so many Fortune 500 companies like Google, Amazon and Mazda are located in Irvine.

Take a look at a few key metrics that set Irvine apart from other communities.

Irvine Spectrum is home to about 3,500 companies, including more than 360 tech companies.

One-third open space and parks

By setting aside one-third of the city as permanent open space, Irvine has created one of the largest urban open-space networks in America. This is land that can never be developed.

Best schools and university

Irvine schools produce students with the highest SAT scores in the county, and UC Irvine, which was a key component of the original Master Plan, is now ranked the seventh best public university in America. There are well-educated and highly skilled people right here in Irvine, which Irvine businesses appreciate and hire.

Safest large city in America

Irvine has been recognized as the safest large city in America by the FBI for 12 consecutive years. One reason is the Master Plan, which includes strategically located retail centers that generate millions of dollars to help fund a modern, professional, and community oriented police department.

High and stable property values

Irvine homes have appreciated nearly twice as fast as homes in other U.S. cities over the last 20 years. This year, Irvine home values outpaced OC’s by 51 percent. Those who purchase a home in Irvine find that their investment pays dividends.

Let’s not forget that our world class city is the result of a balanced Master Plan that continues to guide the planning of our community, which unlike most, continues to improve with time.