County Fair Fashion Mall has been identified as special study area in the City’s zoning ordinance update. These types of regional malls are failing across the nation. Just as many pedestrian-only malls of the 1950s and 60s have been retrofitted into Main Streets (for example, Fresno’s recent transformation of Fulton Street), many indoor shopping malls of the 1970s and 80s are in steep decline. Of the approximately 1,200 malls in the U.S. today, over a quarter of are at risk of closing over the next five years, according to estimates from Credit Suisse, and many more could fail in the decade that follows, squeezed out between online sales and the main street shopping preference.
In California and Woodland, the housing crisis is very real. Our residential market analysis by Zimmerman/Volk Associates found that, “from the market perspective, over a five-year time frame, 450 to 560 rental and for sale housing units can be supported within the County Fair Fashion Mall Study Area. Based on market preferences, the optimum housing mix would be composed of 81 percent rental lofts and apartments, eight percent for-sale condominiums, and 11 percent for-sale single-family attached townhouses.”
Three-quarters of the market (younger singles and couples) will seek studio micro-units and one-bedroom “hard” lofts, of which approximately four out of five could qualify for the one-bedroom. Approximately 14 percent (empty nester and retirees) would be in the market for one-bedroom and smaller sized two-bedroom apartments or “soft” lofts, in a walkable context.
The New Urbanism approach consists of designing cities where human beings thrive in a diversity of habitats or places. Some people prefer urban centers while others seek out the rural or sub-urban zones. We advocate for American development patterns that are walkable within different physical environments, neighborhoods, villages, towns and cities that range from more urban to more rural in character. A prototypical American rural-to-urban continuum is divided into six Transect Zones that guide development. Rather than zoning an entire site as a single commercial zone, our team used a ‘Context-Sensitive’ or place type design approach that creates a neighborhood-scaled, walkable, drivable, bike-able, linger-able, sit-able, shop-able, work-able and live-able mixed-use, village center.
We divided the mall site into three distinct, horizontal transition zones, (explained in more detail in Form-Based Code section):
Neighborhood Center Zone (T5) – The Corner of East Street and East Gibson Road is the 100% corner for Neighborhood Commercial serving adjacent neighborhoods north and west of this major intersection.
General Neighborhood Zone (T4) – The residential area supporting the corner and transitioning to the adjacent more Sub-Urban housing.
Sub-Urban Zone (T3) – The residential layer, one-lot deep, that lines the