To transform County Fair Mall into an urban village center, we envision a phased approach that begins with building housing on the southern half of the property on the empty parking lot and vacant anchor building. The second phase would be to fill in the gaps that front onto E. Gibson and East Street with commercial and residential multi-story buildings. Third, remove the roof of the mall’s remaining in-line shops and form an open-air Paseo with parks, plazas, and walkways that create small shop opportunities and tactical place making events. Finally, maintain the two commercial boxes that house JCPenney and Walmart today and into the future. A mixed-use, walkable, village center adds the following benefits:
Allows for New Residential Housing that provides built-in commercial space for those who shop at local stores without adding car trips. Fills the need for high-quality, small lot and small unit homes for students, professionals, single-parents, empty-nester, and young couples starting a family in the area. And, provides transit users without adding car trips.
A Park Once Program provide ample parking that shares spaces for customers, visitors, shoppers, employees, transit riders and local residents. A managed program provides a source of revenue to maintain and operate the site’s signage, lighting, landscaping, walkways, and place making programs.
Complete and Walkable Streets provides access to the entire neighborhood and beyond for those aged 8 to 80. A city’s best tool to provide social justice, walking, biking, transit, and auto access enables everyone equal access to jobs, commerce, goods and services safely.
Enable the Updated General Plan by implementing a pilot project for Mixed-Use Zoning and get a return on the city’s policy and regulatory investment to transform a dead mall into a vibrant village center.
The aerial images of the existing mall and the preferred site plan describe the Village Center idea that may be expanded to adjacent infill sites. We understand the Yolo County Fair Grounds to the north might become the next 55-acre candidate for redevelopment 2.0 in the future.
The city’s General Plan promotes corridor revitalization along the East St. corridor where form-based zoning regulations can increase use-flexibility and improve urban design. Residential mixed-use projects are encouraged. Neighborhood revitalization is the focus along East Street near Gibson. Transit service could continue in a north-south staging area long East St.
Phasing redevelopment depends on the ability to acquire the key parcels owned by the Mall, then layering the mixed-use zoning into a walkable block pattern. Demolition and construction would begin at the south end of the site and move north in phases, protecting Walmart, JCPenney, and the other separately-owned buildings, parcels, parking and access.
Housing would likely emerge first and help buffer adjoining residences, followed by or coinciding with mixed-use buildings lining the corner of East Gibson and East Street between Chase Bank and Frenchy’s, with park, plaza and the more internal structures and amenities as a final phase.