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Developer Seeks to Revive Streets of Downtown Anaheim

Real estate: The $65-million plan would include apartments, stores and a new library around City Hall.

October 02, 2002|ROGER VINCENT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Los Angeles developer that played a role in the revitalization of Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, Old Pasadena and Birch Street in Brea is looking to do the same thing for downtown Anaheim.

CIM Group plans to build a $65-million project of apartments, stores and a new library in the historic blocks around City Hall in Orange County's second-largest city.

The city's Redevelopment Agency is negotiating with CIM to redevelop three sites along Broadway Avenue near such landmarks as Disney Ice, Center Street Promenade and the former Carnegie Library. The sites primarily are used for parking but will become part of a district devoted to art, culture and education, said Anaheim spokesman John Nicoletti.

Creating a larger residential population in downtown Anaheim would build more street life, strengthen the Center Street Promenade as an attraction, and increase the city's economic base, said Shaul Kuba, a CIM principal.

A trend toward that kind of "place making" has been growing across the country for several years, said Dean Schwanke, who analyzes real estate development trends for the Urban Land Institute, an industry trade group based in Washington.

"The idea is to create a sense of place for an area that might lack it," Schwanke said. "More and more people are looking for that environment in their lives."

Planners who want to encourage street life often combine residential development with office and retail uses. The expectation is that retailers will serve office workers by day and residents in the evening, putting people on the sidewalks around the clock.

Redevelopment officials presented the proposal to the City Council on Tuesday and may recommend adoption this month. Construction could begin within six months if the developer and city officials can agree on terms. The proposal calls for Anaheim to sell the property to CIM, which would develop the sites.

CIM would pay for the development through its CIM California Urban Real Estate Fund, a pool of money raised by institutional investors including the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System for investment in urban developments on the West Coast.

Anaheim was settled in the mid- 1800s by German farmers. The city thrived as a citrus producer until the post-World War II population growth in Southern California turned orange groves into subdivisions and the Santa Ana freeway opened the city to manufacturing and tourism--most notably Disneyland, which opened in 1955.

The city's business districts have struggled for decades as business owners and retailers have come to view Anaheim primarily as a tourist destination and moved to rising business centers such as Irvine and Newport Beach.

As proposed, the project would include:

* An 80,000-square-foot library on the site surrounding the historic Carnegie Library, now the Anaheim Museum, at the northwest corner of Broadway and Anaheim Boulevard. It would replace the city's main library a few blocks away. It would have a second-story terrace connected to the Carnegie building and have separate floors for children and teens. Also on that site would be a four-story apartment building that would have stores on the ground floor and 100 to 130 rental units with subterranean parking.

* Seventy to 90 loft-style apartments, with retail stores on the ground floor, at the northeast corner of Broadway and Lemon Street.

* Eighty to 100 rental lofts at the southwest corner of Center Street Promenade bounded by Clementine Street and Broadway. An additional 150 to 200 apartments would be built atop an existing parking structure adjacent to the Wells Fargo Bank building at the corner of Broadway and Harbor Boulevard.

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