Undaunted by the so-called "death of redevelopment," several California cities have pushed to reinvent -- a.k.a. redevelop -- their downtown cores. And it appears to be working.
The San Jose Mercury News recently reported that the city of Fremont is breaking ground soon on its extension to Capitol Avenue, creating a new "Main Street" for its Downtown District. And Fremont is not alone. Stockton also has a plan to "Bring Downtown Back." In Southern California, The Desert Sun reports that Palm Springs is moving forward with its downtown redevelopment.
So perhaps redevelopment didn't die after all, but it does look different. There are no redevelopment agencies to acquire the property necessary, but cities like Fremont can work with developers, and use their powers of eminent domain where necessary for related improvements, such as the extension of Capitol Avenue. And, as my colleague Brad Kuhn reported earlier this year, we may see cities using Infrastructure Financing Districts to get larger projects rolling.
Is there a trend away from "big box" shopping centers to walkable urban centers? It looks like there very well may be. And how will cities make this happen? Stay tuned...