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.
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.
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
- San Bernardino Sun – City OKs hiring planners
- Riverside Press-Enterprise – San Bernardino to hire experts for downtown revival plans
- Urban Land Institute
- RaincrossSquare.com – LNR closer to redeveloping Carousel Mall (Feb. 2007)
- RaincrossSquare.com – San Bernardino’s Carousel Mall may be redeveloped (Sept. 2005)
Sources: San Bernardino Sun, Urban Land Institute