Decade-Long $229 Million OC Fairgrounds Renovation Plan Underway

By Julianne Foster
Julianne Foster
Julianne Foster
February 6, 2023Updated: February 20, 2023

The Costa Mesa-based OC Fair and Event Center will be experiencing radical change over the next decade, after its governing body approved the first phase of an eight-pronged plan to renovate the property.

“We are on solid financial ground and … projects will bring the property new opportunities to serve the community, generate family fun and fulfill our mission,” OC Fair & Event Center CEO Michele Richards said in a Jan. 31 press release.

The cost for the renovations are approximately $229 million and will roll out in eight phases:

Phase 1

  • Expansion of the property’s administration building to add meeting rooms and archive and storage areas
  • Start/Completion date: 2023–2024
  • Cost estimate: $25 million

Phase 2

  • Addition of two permanent restroom facilities with showers and storage
  • Start/Completion date: 2024–2025
  • Cost estimate: $7.7 million

Phase 3

  • Demolition and rebuilding of Centennial Farm and construction of an additional new multipurpose center for farm, livestock, and agricultural programs
  • Completion date: Between 2026 and 2027
  • Cost estimate: $14.6 million

Phase 4

  • Additions to the show buildings for farm and livestock programs
  • Start/completion date: 2027–2008
  • Cost estimate: Approximately $3 million

Phase 5

  • Upgrades to the Pacific Amphitheater, including renovations to its outside plaza, structural replacement, and repairs and landscaping
  • Completion date: 2029–2030
  • Cost estimate: $22.6 million

Phase 6

  • Upgrades to the Action Sports Area, including bench seating and replacements
  • Start date/completion: 2030–2031
  • Cost estimate: $3 million

Phase 7

  • Renovations for the Agriplex, including the demolition and reconstruction of old barns, offices, and storage sheds and the addition of a new show ring, pavilion, and exhibit space
  • Start date/completion: 2031–2032
  • Cost estimate: $86.6 million

Phase 8

  • Property upgrades such as a decorative and functional security fence with gates as well as landscaping
  • Completion date: 2033
  • Cost estimate: $67.9 million