ULI to develop plans for downtown San Bernardino

With the need for more county offices on the horizon and plans for remaking San Bernardino’s Carousel Mall somewhat uncertain, the city and county agreed this week to hire an outside consultant to help shape and, more importantly, move along plans for redeveloping parts of downtown San Bernardino.

2004 - Downtown San Bernardino

The $115,000 contract with Urban Land Institute will have the nonprofit planning think tank descend upon San Bernardino for five days this June to study the downtown area. ULI will review current city and county projects — including the county’s plans for an expected $200 million worth of new office space — as well as factor potential projects into the study.

The city hopes the plan will provide the necessary impetus for continuing the process of redeveloping the struggling Carousel Mall into a vibrant, mixed-use development. Plans call for a mixture of high-density residential and commercial uses in a park-like, pedestrian-friendly setting.

2006 - Carousel Mall

Miami-based LNR, new owners of portions of Carousel, have submitted plans for the mall project. However, key parcels — including the former JCPenney and historic Harris Co. buildings — still remain up in the air.

Redlands-based economist John Husing, an expert on regional economic and housing conditions, said San Bernardino is moving in the right direction with efforts to turn the mall into a housing tract.

“The people all over the state who are talking about bringing back older cities are all on the same page,” Husing said. “You do it by bringing people and income back into an area so that when the daytime activity goes away you still have a base of consumers there to sustain an economy.”

“In downtown Riverside, that has been exactly the strategy,” Husing said, adding that a new direction is also being forged in Ontario.

San Bernardino Sun

The planning team will be headed by former mayor of Indianapolis and current senior fellow at ULI, Bill Hudnut. The planning institute has developed similar plans for numerous cities in the U.S. and abroad.

ULI’s report, meant to help guide future downtown development, is expected by early September.

Photo Gallery: Carousel Mall



Sources: San Bernardino Sun, Urban Land Institute

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  1. When is downtown Redlands going to move forward with “mixed-use urban redevelopment”? Downtown Redlands is in dire need of something new and wonderful for this and future generations. The current Redlands Mall is a 14-acre site of banality and boredom. When will things improve? When will the architecture and landscape design be unique with nice shady trees, green fields, waterfalls and nice comtemporary modern architecture for business and residential uses? Perhaps never. Redlands blight and banality is maybe a permanant example of failed 1960’s urban renewal. Let us hope to be saved from our ashes.

  2. Rory,
    General Growth Properties, owner of the Redlands Mall, has been floating a redevelopment proposal that includes mixed-uses, but we have not heard much on it lately. Other similar proposals downtown, including an expanded Krikorian Theaters, a full-service hotel and a parking garage seem to also remain in various stages of planning (or limbo — we’re not certain).

    Although downtown Redlands may be a bit lite on the employment end and commuter rail is still a few years off, there’s no doubt it has many of the other necessary ingredients for successful mixed-use developments. In our opinion, State Street offers some of the best “live/work” potential within the Inland region. Quite frankly, we’re as surprised as you that none have yet to materialize (though, we’ve been holding our breath the past couple years awaiting the same for downtown Riverside as well).

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