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Community News: Central

CHINATOWN : Plan for Six-Story Mall Gains Ground

November 13, 1994

Plans for a six-story shopping mall, its roof embellished with a ship mast and wire-cloth sail to reflect the early Chinese immigrant experience, are sailing forward despite neighbors' concerns about traffic congestion and pedestrian safety.

Community Redevelopment Agency officials expect to review the developer's final plans by early next year. The Broadway Pavilion project, proposed at North Broadway and Alpine Street where a private parking lot now operates, is one of the biggest projects in Chinatown since 1990, officials said.

The 78,140-square-foot building would include a basement and three bottom floors of retail and restaurant space. A Chinatown art and history exhibit would display local artwork in the center's lobby. And 168 parking spaces would occupy the top three levels.

The city Department of Transportation has permitted the developer, Fidelity Investment Partnership, to widen Alpine Street and North Broadway to improve access to the complex.

Some residents and businesses have complained that the project will bring more traffic into the already congested area, turning Chinatown into a less pedestrian-friendly business district.

Some locals also point out that many Chinatown residents are senior citizens who walk the sidewalks daily. Widening streets in front of the complex, they say, might make it dangerous for pedestrians and hurt businesses that rely on foot traffic.

"I don't walk as fast as I used to," said Paul Louie, a retired 76-year-old community activist. "I want to see growth and development in Chinatown, but not at the expense and safety of its residents."

CRA officials say they will try to preserve the width of the sidewalks.

Supporters of the shopping complex say it will revitalize the stagnant Chinatown economy. Developers expect to generate 193 jobs.

"I believe that for Chinatown to economically survive, we need that building," said Irvin Lai, a Chinatown general contractor for 35 years.

"I want that place (the pavilion) to have traffic jams every day because that would mean people and businesses are there."

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