City Council approves portion of Fox Plaza

After a month-long delay in receiving Planning Commission recommendations, the Riverside City Council this past Tuesday approved a portion of Fox Plaza, the large mixed-use project proposed for downtown.

Phase One site of Fox Plaza
will include a Hyatt Place hotel
MetroPacific Properties, LLC

Fox Plaza – overview
MetroPacific Properties, LLC

Project site
MS Virtual Earth

Stalder Building

Located on three key blocks along Market Street, between Fifth Street and Mission Inn Avenue, the first phase will include a 337 space parking structure surrounded by 40 residences and 8,200 sq. ft. of commercial space. Also included is a Hyatt Place hotel, which had previously received approval.

The council also approved the project’s overall environmental impact report, but did not give final approval to additional phases. In particular, the council has requested the developer — MetroPacific Properties LLC — to revise the portion proposed for the Stalder half-block on Market Street between Sixth Street and Mission Inn Avenue.

Members from both the Planning Commission and City Council expressed the need for scaling back the Stalder portion of the project, particularly near the corner of Market Street and Mission Inn Avenue so as to not overshadow the historic Fox Theater across the street. The developer has agreed to revise this portion, which will require future review from both the Planning Commission and City Council, but has not committed to saving the Stalder Building, which a local historical preservation group is pushing for.

We’re glad to see the first phase move forward. Currently, the site is an uninviting asphalt parking lot, and indeed, the least contested part of the project. We’re also glad to see some attempts to better incorporate the Stalder into the development. However, we do not want to see large-scale setbacks applied to the project, which could end up producing a more suburban-styled building.

In short, we admit to having mixed feelings on some elements of the overall project, including the potential loss of a few older buildings, each with their own uniqueness and histories. But the bottom line is we think the mixed-use Fox Plaza — particularly along the eastern side of Market Street — offers a potentially more vibrant and balanced environment, which we feel downtown needs in order to better survive and compete in the coming decades.




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  1. I have mixed feelings about this whole ordeal… Maybe a little more anger than anything, particularly about the proposed changes and all the complaining about the project. I’m thrilled that at least Phase I is moving forward, but the whole Stalder “Crisis” is starting to bug me.

    I’ve been thinking, “If the Stalder is salvaged and say the whole building is kept standing and intact… what then? What will it be used for?”

    Right now, the property value of the building and the immediate area at Mission Inn and Market I would guess is relatively low in comparison to the rest of Downtown. But once the Fox Theater reopens and the Fox Plaza is say, “built,” the Stalder will suddenly be at a very important intersection. I’m thinking that the Stalder can’t logically be made up of antique shops or discount stores any longer. If it does, it may kill that street corner, especially at night.

    If it stays, I’m hoping it becomes made up of bars, pubs, or maybe a vintage-but-hip-type upscale restaurant(s)… something that will keep it going in the evening or at night.

    My other hope is that the height isn’t sacrificed on the Phase II block (or at least by that much). I really think the end that faces Sixth Street should at least be 5 stories tall (4 might be okay) just for the effect of keeping the downtown feel with the project. So here’s to hoping for the best. I am sad that it won’t be built as is, because the Phase II building was my favorite in look and feel 😉 .

  2. I agree that something needs to be done for that area to develop. The buildings in place now are not fit for a modern restoration of that portion of downtown. What I don’t understand is why cannot the design of the fox plaza on that block not incorporate fully the architectural design of the Stalder building with the ground floor, and extend on up from there? I see that there is a little “remembrance” piece that resembles what would be once there, but it looks more like a joke than a monument of that block’s history. The white mission-like architecture there now is a well defined blend of that area of downtown.

    Again, I don’t mind seeing the building torn down, but with the new building, replicate the Stalder on the ground floor and extend from there. Now harm in that and more people will be happy.

  3. (Pub: June 16 2008)
    “If the Stalder is salvaged and say the whole building is kept standing and intact… what then? What will it be used for?” …. I’m thinking that the Stalder can’t logically be made up of antique shops or discount stores any longer. If it does, it may kill that street corner, especially at night.

    That’s the big “what if” with regards to the Stalder. Indeed, if it remains, it would no longer seem plausible for the (former) tenant mix to remain as is, and likely wouldn’t due to market forces (though how long that would take is anyone’s guess). Our feeling is the Stalder half-block is almost a make-or-break portion for the project commercial-wise. Thus, whether the existing Stalder Building is somehow incorporated into Fox Plaza or not, we feel the lot’s prime location is likely the linch pin of the project, particularly with regards to the retail and/or nightlife aspect.

    We fully support historic preservation. Indeed, it plays a large part in the overall character of downtown Riverside. But we also see the need for balance between preservation and progress, else downtown could very well lose its economic and cultural edge as it stagnates for another 20-30 years. In this case, we’re just not fully convinced of the historic significance of the Stalder Building in order to fully derail Fox Plaza. Sure, we’d like to see it incorporated into the project. But the bottom line is there are several Stalder-type buildings scattered around downtown, but not even one, truly mixed-use development the likes of Fox Plaza — something we feel downtown Riverside needs to remain competitive within Southern California.

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