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A Description of my earlier post

Piemonte at Ontario Center - Ontario, CA
Piemonte is an urban village where residential, business, entertainment, sports, retail and dining combine to create a vibrant hub of activity for residents, local employees and visitors alike. A pedestrian-oriented 24-hour urban community, Piemonte will be a core destination and lifestyle experience for the Inland Empire as well as Southern California. The Piemonte experience includes approximately 400,000 sf of retail space, with distinctive restaurants and services, 550,000 sf of Class-A office space, 806 residential units, 769 multifamily residences, 11,000-seat sports and entertainment arena and 200-plus room high-end business/headquarters hotel and restaurant. Piemonte is located within the City of Ontario at the border of Rancho Cucamonga, one of the nation's fastest growing cities. The project is adjacent to Ontario Mills with immediate accessibility from I-10 and I-15 freeways.
 

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Inland areas called key to state's future
The vast, fast-growing regions need a strong economy and solutions to environmental problems, study says.
By Gary Polakovic, Times Staff Writer
March 28, 2007

California's vast inland valleys, from Redding to Riverside, remain the fastest growing regions in the state but already face serious economic and environmental challenges that could determine the state's future, according to a study released Tuesday.

Developing an economy that can sustain this rapid population growth with well-paying jobs is the challenge facing these communities and will determine whether California will continue to prosper, according to the report by the Brookings Institution.

Although often maligned as poor, ugly and polluted, the inland area, spanning 75,000 square miles, is the key to California's future. One in three Californians calls it home. Four of the nation's 10 fastest-growing cities — Riverside, Bakersfield, Sacramento and San Bernardino — are there.

High-priced real estate forced many families to flee coastal urban areas and pursue their dreams inland during the past decade. Inland California "represents not so much a break with the California dream, but its new homeland, the state of opportunity for a new generation," the study said.

Sustaining the dream without ruining the environment or agriculture will determine if California remains competitive and a beacon for opportunity in the 21st century, experts say. The San Joaquin Valley already rivals Los Angeles for some of the smoggiest air in the country.

"When you get that many people and that much economic power inland, you better take a look at it and understand it because that's where the future of the state is," said John Husing, president of Redlands-based Economics & Politics Inc., an economic research firm unconnected with the study.

The report paints a portrait of a region at the crossroads. People move inland largely to find affordable housing in the Inland Empire, Central Valley and Sierra foothills.

The population in those regions has increased 14% between 2000 and 2005, four times the rate of the rest of the state, the study said.

But the inland region's rapid growth brings serious challenges.

More than half the new arrivals are Latino, and many new residents are poor and significantly less educated than in the Los Angeles region or the Bay Area.

They need good jobs, but employers aren't likely to relocate until there's a capable, high-skilled workforce in place. Many companies are more likely to relocate to Reno, Las Vegas or Phoenix than to inland California, the study said.

"When we think of the future of California, most people think about what happens in Silicon Valley or Hollywood. But for most Californians, the issue is what happens in the middle-class areas," said Joel Kotkin, an author of the study. "Will they be the new vital centers for California's middle class or will they become crabgrass slums with high unemployment and poor living conditions?"

The study recommends three approaches to help transform inland boomtowns into more livable and economically sustainable cities:

• Create more amenities that appeal to families, skilled labor and industries, including more open space and parks, better entertainment and retail centers and improved infrastructure.

• Create upward mobility for residents by offering more work-force training and better schools.

• Build on optimism to create political consensus for leadership and positive change. The study notes that, despite the region's maligned reputation, 75% of Central Valley adults rated their community as good or excellent — providing a basis for political will.

"It's up to them whether the area continues to perform to the low expectations as viewed by many commentators or begins to forge a future that will preserve the middle-class 'California dream' for at least another generation," the study said.

William Frey of the Brookings Institution and Kotkin, experts in demographics and urban development, wrote the 20-page paper.

The Brookings Institution is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
 

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Battling the monster on the hill
Publishing tycoon Duane Hagadone's Palm Desert neighbors consider his dream castle a $30-million offense against nature.
By Valerie Reitman, Times Staff Writer
April 20, 2007



NEAR the 18th hole of the Bighorn golf course in Palm Desert, publishing tycoon Duane Hagadone laid out his vision for a dream home to his architect. It would be set high on the bald mountain rising near the green yet be so inconspicuous that he'd have to point it out even to golf buddies.

Hagadone wanted "a residence that blends into the mountain, that is very subtle, not a pinnacle seen from all angles," his assistants explained to Palm Desert officials as they sought the go-ahead for the subsequent design.

The $30-million-plus home would feature a copper roof composed of "angles and curves" that mimicked the ridge of the mountain, while its rock walls would be molded from those on the hillside.

The spectacular architectural plans and model so dazzled city officials that they granted Hagadone an exemption from a preservation ordinance that caps hillside homes at 4,000 square feet. Hagadone wanted his castle to be eight times that size — 32,016 square feet.

Before that vote in 2004, one City Council member envisioned write-ups "in every architectural magazine around the world"; another said he'd already inquired about using this "jewel in our crown" as a venue for fundraising events for the local theater. "We'll all be bragging about it," a third council member said.

Instead, the home has brought a load of grief for this city now that it is just about complete. Visible from miles away and set on a prominent ridgeline, its frame resembles a wayward space station parked amid the picturesque foothills.

Hagadone and his representatives declined interview requests. But upset residents have flooded the city with e-mails, branding the house "an unsightly scar on the hill," "a blight," "a monstrosity," "a pimple" and an "abortion" of city planning.

"We had an untouched ridgeline, untouched," lamented resident Larry Sutter.

Residents complained that their views of the Santa Rosa Mountains, which enfold the city like a clamshell, had been ruined. The bare, unlit peaks are lovely at dusk, silhouetted against the desert's twilight hues, and residents particularly dreaded how the house would look lighted up at night.

The outrage crescendoed last summer when city officials discovered that Hagadone had graded 64,000 square feet — double what the city had approved — to add unauthorized gardens, a sports court, koi pond and sidewalks.

Some residents demanded that Hagadone rip out unauthorized additions.

"The natural beauty of the desert and the mountains should be there for everyone … not just the few super rich," wrote James C. Owens. "Have the guts to tell Mr. Hagadone NO! NO! NO!"

WHEN it comes to golf and water — and most everything else — Hagadone, 74, lives large.

Take Lady Lola, the 205-foot yacht Hagadone had custom-built with what he called the world's only floating 18-hole golf course — so he could play while cruising around the world with the boat's namesake, wife Lola. Golf tees sprouted from the deck for Hagadone and friends to hack toward 18 buoys his crews anchored at various distances. A supply vessel followed behind toting other toys: a helicopter and landing pad, several speed boats (for crew members to retrieve the floating golf balls), sailboats, kayaks and a three-man submarine.

"We're a very active family. We love water sports," Hagadone told Showboats International yachting magazine in 2004. "No yacht really gives you the opportunity to carry a full complement of toys."

His extensive holdings in his Idaho hometown, Coeur d'Alene, which include restaurants, condominiums and a golf resort, have led some critics to dub the town "Coeur Duane." Hagadone raised hackles there a few years ago by proposing to replace two blocks of its busiest downtown street with a $20-million garden honoring his parents, but he dropped the controversial idea.

Hagadone wasn't always rich, according to his biography on the Horatio Alger Assn. of Distinguished Americans website. He dropped out of college to sell advertising for the eight-page daily Coeur d'Alene Press, where his father had risen to publisher. After his father died at age 49, Hagadone became publisher, and later owner, of the Press and 18 colorfully named dailies and weeklies in Idaho and Montana such as the Hungry Horse and Whitefish Pilot.

For more than 30 years, Hagadone — like thousands of other snowbirds — has traded frigid winters for the Coachella Valley's sun and more than 100 golf courses. His most recent base was in Indian Wells at the Vintage, a country club development that once made news for reprimanding one of its best-known homeowners, Bill Gates, for teeing off in a T-shirt rather than the requisite collar or turtleneck.

In 2004, Hagadone sold his boats for a reported $90 million and bought a plot at the Bighorn club.

The original design comprised five wings interspersed with interior streams and built-in aquariums. It featured his-and-her lap pools, an infinity-edge pool and several patios and terraces. Natural light would flood in from more than 110 glass windows and doors — some as large as 80 square feet, arced like half-moons, or opening at the touch of a button to let the outdoors in.

On the lower, entrance level: a huge garage for cars and golf carts, servants quarters, an elevator and a food preparation kitchen that appears big enough for Emeril, the audience and the band.

As the frame of Hagadone's home rose, residents of nearby gated communities and trailer parks dubbed Hagadone's home "the flying saucer" and "Neverland Ranch." Blinding glare from the desert sun glanced off the rounded, floor-to-ceiling glass windows of Hagadone's office, a round building in front of the main home.

It is "like a lighthouse with one major difference — there is no public benefit from its location," Jane and Paul Mueller, who live nearby, wrote to city officials.

Only a handful of residents expressed support for the project. One, Bighorn resident Edward Burger, e-mailed city officials that it would be Palm Desert's equivalent of the iconic home of Bob Hope, built three decades ago in nearby Palm Springs on a far less prominent peak. "I'm proud to have it in my community."

Bighorn rivals the Vintage and a few other clubs as the desert's toniest residential golf development. "Ultimately," the club's literature boasts, "it isn't the club you carry, but the one where you belong."

So many members drive $170,000-plus Bentley Continental GTs that it has its own Bentley Club. Bighorn also has an exclusive Starbucks, thanks to the chain's former chief executive — and Bighorn homeowner — Orin Smith. Other residents include producer Jerry Weintraub and "Entertainment Tonight" host Mary Hart.

A few miles from El Paseo, the desert's Rodeo Drive, Bighorn straddles Highway 74, the mountain route to Idyllwild and San Diego. A path under the highway allows golf carts to easily cruise between their homes and two world-class 18-hole courses, huge spa and boardroom-for-rent. Anteing up the $350,000 initiation fee, $25,000 annual charges, and $1,000 yearly "golf cart charge" gets a couple entry into those facilities and the Pour House restaurant.

Late last summer, Palm Desert associate city planner Tony Bagato discovered in an inspection that initial construction blueprints understated the home's square-footage by nearly 13,000 square feet: It was actually 44,870 square feet. But Hagadone had built beyond even that, grading land for a koi pond, a sports court and gardens not approved by the city. Now, the home was 64,000, twice what had been approved.

Hagadone's representatives called it a mistake and blamed their initial engineers — since replaced — for miscalculating the size. They submitted permit applications to cover the additions.

On Oct. 26, the day of the council showdown over the mansion, Hagadone got up at 4:30 a.m. to fly from Idaho. First stop: Ironwood, the gated community of more than 1,500 residents that lies in the shadow of his mansion, among his most vociferous opponents. He was met by four representatives from Ironwood in golf carts.

Hagadone "wasn't lawyered up," resident Larry Sutter recalled later, but came alone. He rode shotgun with Sutter, as the mini golf-cart parade cruised by modest two-bedroom condos and through the backyards of the million-dollar-plus estates that now look directly up at the colossal home. They pointed out how the infinity pool's straight edge wildly contrasted with the ridgeline's natural terrain.

They repaired to the fitness center to talk more. Hagadone said he would get his "rock guy" to soften the impact, Sutter recalled. Hagadone "certainly had opinions," Sutter said, but was "open and engaging and willing to take these steps, and we appreciate that."

HOURS later, the council hearing began, and members were quick to express frustration about their limited options.

"The first time I approved this, I didn't think I was approving anything that could be seen over the ridgeline," said Councilman Richard S. Kelly. "What's my guarantee?" he asked, in regard to approving the additional square footage, "because I thought I had a guarantee once before." Once something was built, he said, he couldn't imagine the council demanding the applicant tear it down.

If Hagadone ignored the limits on his original permits, why should the city trust him to abide by the permits he wanted for the sports court and other extra additions? Kelly asked Hagadone.

Councilwoman Jean M. Benson questioned why Hagadone should be granted anything else, considering "all that stuff he's done illegally already."

"We take some poor guy that doesn't have a nickel and make him tear down a house and rebuild it because he did it without a permit," she said. Hagadone's representatives "stood up there and blatantly lied to us."

City Atty. David Irwin said the original permits contained no provisions specifying that the house wouldn't be visible. With or without the new permits, Irwin said, "we have very limited ability to impose conditions on the original permit that was issued." If they granted new permits, however, they could attach conditions that he must modify what had already been built.

Hagadone then addressed the council, telling members that "we are very proud of the home" and hadn't broken any promises.

"I certainly have not ever proposed or commented that the building would not be seen at all," Hagadone said.

He said he had "worked hard" to make the property as "environmentally positive-looking as I possibly could," investing $360,000 in modifications, "all to become a better neighbor," and getting up before dawn that morning to address the concerns of Ironwood residents.

Hagadone urged the council to approve the sports court and other additions immediately, saying he now had large crews working to finish the house within a few months. He promised to work with a special aesthetics committee appointed by the council if they gave the go-ahead.

"When you're my age, you don't want to miss another winter in the desert," he said.

Jim Ferguson, the mayor, sided with Hagadone. "You seem like an honorable guy," Ferguson told the publisher. "You've worked well with us, and you didn't do anything that we didn't tell you you couldn't do."

With Benson dissenting, contending they were being "blackmailed," the council voted 3 to 1 to issue the additional permits.

Some residents now say the home is much less offensive with the total $700,000 that Hagadone says he has spent trying to make it less noticeable, including improvements to the home's rock walls and changes to the "Batman's ears," as some referred to the stonework around the office. Others think the faux rocks make it look worse.

Gloria Petitto, 80, whose home was built in 1956, said she remembered when Bing Crosby, Randolph Scott and other celebrities lived just down the street and "everybody was family, whether you were a ditch digger, a teacher or an entertainer."

Instead of the "majesty" of "God's nature" she could see from every room, she sees the Hagadone mansion.

They have "no consideration, no care for anybody else; they just want to be high up and look down," Petitto said. "I'll tell you," she said, that's "what money does for you."

Last week, the City Council approved an ordinance to prohibit building on or across ridgelines for new lots. In addition, residents living within 4,000 feet of any proposed hillside homes must be informed while city officials consider approval. But it appears that exceptions could still be made, just as was done in Hagadone's case.

Since selling his Vintage Club residence for about $5 million two weeks ago, Hagadone has begun moving into his dream castle. The lights have kicked on for the first time on the mountain, pouring from all the glass walls. The sight fills Ironwood resident Waldo H. Shank with fury "to look up on that ridge all lit up like a carnival each night and know that it was all accomplished by their pushing and shoving and ignoring all the rules."



 

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Site preparation has begun and construction is expected to start next month on Regency Tower in downtown Riverside, the city's largest downtown office project since the completion of Riverside Metro Center in 1990.

Situated at the corner of Tenth and Orange streets, Regency Tower will replace the recently demolished Riverside County Municipal Court building, a 1950s-era low-rise. Plans call for a ground floor coffee shop as well as a 3-level, underground parking structure accommodating 330 vehicles. Also planned is a second, smaller building -- possibly including a restaurant -- connected via a landscaped courtyard. The 10-story, 250,000 square foot office building is part of the city and county's efforts at redeveloping portions of downtown and will be the tallest structure built downtown since the 12-story Marriott (Sheraton) opened in 1985. The most striking architectural feature will be a dome situated atop the building at the corner of Tenth and Orange streets, which adds a distinctive feature over the typical flat-roofed office buildings currently populating downtown.We're glad to see the coffee shop and other similar commercial uses planned within the mix, which will help spur more and varied interaction at the street level. Likewise, we're also glad to see underground parking as opposed to a separate, above-ground parking garage, or worse -- an asphalt lot.Regency Tower comes on the heels of the recently completed, 5-story office building for The Press-Enterprise newspaper. A second 5-story office project proposed for Olivewood Avenue near Fourteenth Street is in the early planning stages. Together, the three projects signal the end of a 15-plus year drought for larger, steel-framed downtown office buildings. Hopefully, the recent activity will spur other developers downtown as opposed to simply planting down more low-rises on the city's suburban fringe.
 

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Yeaaaaaaaaah.. I´ve known about this building for a while now, it was featured on some riverside newsletter that I get in the mail...
 

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ESRI's new building brings a touch of Scandinavia
COLLEEN MENSCHING, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 05/30/2007 12:05:02 PM PDT


Scandinavian sensibilities meet Southern California sun in plans for the new Environmental Systems Research Institute building.

Jack Dangermond, owner of the Redlands-based mapping software company, got his first glimpse of Henrik Hvidt's architecture two years ago at a conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"I was so impressed by this building that I asked to meet (Hvidt)," Dangermond said. "The nature of his architecture is just exquisite. ` world class."

When Dangermond wanted a new 80,000-square-foot-building for ESRI's New York Street headquarters, he asked Hvidt to collaborate with Redlands architect Leon Armantrout, whose working relationship with Dangermond spans more than 40 years.

In 2002, ESRI opened its distinctive, contemporary glass-walled cafe. Armantrout's design won three professional awards in three years. The new building, which features a dramatic glass atrium, will complement the cafe, Armantrout said.

"It's a very, very special building," Armantrout said of the collaborative project.

The building combines exposed concrete, natural wood paneling and, naturally, three stories of glass walls that support themselves.

"There is no steel on the glass. ` This is glass supported by glass supported
by glass," Hvidt said.
The site of the planned atrium has been a source of contention since 2005 when the City Council began gearing up for a vote on ESRI's request to close New York Street.

Dozens of residents spoke against the closure, which was recently completed. Only one council member, no longer in Redlands, voted against it. Mayor Jon Harrison, an ESRI employee, abstained from the vote.

The street vacation runs from West State Street to Redlands Boulevard, where the south portion of New York now ends in a cul de sac. The road continues on the other side of the boulevard. The atrium will span what used to be that section of New York Street.

Dangermond said the new building and the closure are necessary to ESRI's success in Redlands. He said the company has seen 10 percent to 12 percent growth annually in recent years and expects to add 500 new employees in 2007 - "the majority of which will come to Redlands," said Dangermond.

The nine-hour time difference between Redlands and Copenhagen means the architects' teams can literally work around the clock on the ESRI project.

"We're working 24 hours a day. When you're asleep here, we are working in Copenhagen," Hvidt said.

Planning Commissioner Eric Shamp gave high praise to the building's modern design, which he said lends itself to combinations of "harder" materials, such as concrete or stucco, and "softer" materials, such as wood.

Shamp said the project and other like it are as step forward for Redlands design.

"I think the tendency is toward an old town' look ` to replicate the old Redlands style. ` The older buildings are great examples of what was contemporary for that time," he said. "We won't have examples of what was contemporary for our time. We'll have replications of what was contemporary 50, 100 years ago."

The new building won't be complete without the landscaping the ESRI campus is known for. The tentative opening date is in December 2008.

Armantrout said he's never collaborated with other architects the way he has with Hvidt.

"We have promised ourselves it's not going to be the last time," he said.
 

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Mountain Grove at Citrus Plaza - Redlands, CA

Mix the ambiance of a charming small town with an impressive array of upscale shopping and entertainment options and you have Majestic Realty Co.'s newest and most ambitious retail development yet–Mountain Grove at Citrus Plaza.


Covering 62 acres with approximately 700,000-sq. ft. of retail space, Mountain Grove builds on the overwhelming success of the adjacent Citrus Plaza power center, also developed and owned by Majestic. When construction on Mountain Grove is complete in 2008, the two centers will provide complementary shopping experiences with more than 50 retailers spanning more than 1 million sq. ft. of retail space covering nearly 110 acres in California's fastest-growing region, the Inland Empire.
Visitors to Mountain Grove will enjoy an exciting yet intimate setting as they stroll tree-lined streets, and relax in lush, landscaped pocket parks - just the sort of attention to detail for which Majestic's award-winning Retail Development Group is well-known. Adding to the unique architectural style, Mountain Grove's very own central plaza will create a sense of energy and community in the heart of the development.




Currently in the design and pre-leasing phase, Mountain Grove will accommodate a wide variety of retailers. Negotiations are already underway in Zone 1 where many national promotionally oriented retailers can take advantage of the ample parking fields and 210 Freeway (formerly Hwy. 30) visibility. Zone 2 will accommodate some much needed home furnishings merchants who will take advantage of the trade area’s incredible housing growth. A 2,800± seat theater, multiple restaurants and many of today’s “lifestyle” tenants will anchor the project’s Zone 3 “Main Street” corridor while also enhancing Citrus Plaza’s entertainment experience. Zone 4, fronting on Alabama Street across from the newly constructed JCPenney store is planned for fitness, general merchandise and additional specialty retailers.

Located on the northwest corner of the San Bernardino (I-10) Freeway and 210 Freeway (formerly Hwy. 30), Mountain Grove is close to some of the Inland Empire's most affluent and highly-educated communities. With the on- and off-ramps at Alabama Street and San Bernardino Avenue, the nearby communities of Redlands, Loma Linda, San Bernardino, Highland and Yucaipa are all within easy reach. For your leasing needs, please call Tom Cozzolino at (562) 948-4311 or John Hunter at (562) 948-4372.




Plugging the 'Hole'
Redlands' plans to grow hinge on building boom
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 06/07/2007 04:59:23 PM PDT


REDLANDS - The expression "less is more" bears no relationship to development in the unincorporated commercial island here known as "the Doughnut Hole."
The large patch of turf north of Interstate 10, is already home to Citrus Plaza, a large shopping center that's a magnet for East Valley shoppers.

But more businesses are looming.

The developers behind Citrus Plaza are already advertising space in a proposed shopping center that could be even bigger. And that's not all. A Redlands-based developer is building another large center across the street.

"It will be a new city," said developer Charles House regarding the scope of enterprise being pursued in the Doughnut Hole by his and other companies.

The growth of the Doughnut Hole does not mean that Redlands proper has been forgotten. Chicago-based General Growth Properties is working on significant projects in central Redlands.

Redlands-based House Land Development Co. is behind the Palm Grove shopping center, which is under construction on the west side of Alabama Street.

The other big retail project in the works is called Mountain Grove at Citrus Plaza. City of Industry-based Majestic Realty Co., the company that developed Citrus Plaza, has proposed that project.

One of General Growth's more notable proposals is a concept that would rework Redlands Mall. The developers' plans would transform the mall area into an open-air shopping center that would blend with the boutique shops on State Street.

Inside the Doughnut Hole

Like a Hollywood blockbuster, the sequel to Citrus Plaza could be bigger than the original. County planner John P. McGuckian said Citrus Plaza has about 550,000 square feet of space.

Mountain Grove, he said, could include 650,000 square feet of retail, 300 dwellings and two hotels. Majestic Realty filed an application to develop Mountain Grove in early March.

In the parlance of developers, Citrus Plaza is a "power center" - a big place where customers shop in such big stores as Target, Barnes and Noble and Kohls. Majestic Realty vice president John Hunter said Mountain Grove will combine the aspects of a "power center" with a "lifestyle center." The latter term describes developments that mix shopping with entertainment.

Stores at the new center, Hunter said, could start opening as early as summer 2008.

He also remarked that the possible combination of entertainment venues and residences at Mountain Grove could spur downtown-style nightlife inside the Doughnut Hole.

The Palm Grove shopping center, House's project, is on tap to feature about 250,000 square feet of retail space. House is also developing two Marriott-branded hotels.

A J.C. Penney department store opened at Palm Grove last year. House expects the rest of the center to be ready for business by year's end.

The expansion of business inside the Doughnut Hole may not seem much of a surprise given the often-crowded conditions at Citrus Plaza. However, Hunter said it was initially a challenge to lure tenants there.

"Citrus Plaza was an enormous effort to convince the retailers that we had a market for them," he said. "It was one of the plots of the Inland Empire that was underused."

The Doughnut Hole is not only evolving as a retail hub. The land is also becoming a hive of industrial warehouses. Several large warehouse projects have been proposed for the area.

South of the freeway

Martin Vahtra, General Growth's senior development director, said the company and Irvine-based Hopkins Real Estate Group are moving forward with plans to raze and redevelop most of the Redlands Mall.

Other plans by General Growth call for a new shopping center to be called Redlands Promenade.

It would be built west of Eureka Street, south of Interstate 10. The retail center could include a grocery store and fitness center.

Of the two projects, work on the Promenade has gone further. Vahtra said he could not divulge the names of any tenants, but he did say that environmental studies are complete and ready to be evaluated by city officials.

Redlands planning commissioners are scheduled to discuss the Promenade project May 8, community development director Jeff Shaw said.

If commissioners give the project a favorable vote, it would be up to the City Council to decide whether it gets approved.

The revamping of the mall, which would leave anchor stores CVS Pharmacy and Gottschalk's in existence, would involve the demolition of much of the 1970s-era structure. The center would be redesigned so a private roadway adjacent to State Street would meld the mall, or the Village of Redlands under its new name, with the city's traditional shopping zone.

From a development standpoint, the project would be much different from the huge shops at Citrus Plaza. Instead, the Village's design is likened to turning back the clock to older, more urban approaches to development. Vahtra noted that plans are intended to be pedestrian-friendly and also call for residences to be built above stores.

"We're back to streetscape storefronts and using a model of downtown development that is decades, or even centuries old," Vahtra said.

Where the money goes

Redlands receives 90 percent of the Doughnut Hole's sales-tax revenues. Increases in tax revenues illustrate the expansion of commerce within Citrus Plaza since the center opened in 2003.

In fiscal 2003-04, Redlands tallied about $200,000 in sales tax from Doughnut Hole businesses. By fiscal 2005-06, that figure had grown to about $1.5 million.

If future Doughnut Hole stores turn out to be profitable, Redlands officials can look forward to having more money to spend on public services.

City officials do not yet have projections of how much tax revenue new Doughnut Hole stores could generate, finance director Tina Kundig said.

Also, Redlands officials won't be able to count that money for some time. Even if the Palm Grove and Mountain Grove projects are completed as planned, it can take a long time for city officials to reap the benefits of a customer's purchase.

City Treasurer Michael Reynolds observed that if someone makes a purchase at Citrus Plaza's Starbucks in January, most of the year will go by before a few cents of sales tax revenue gets passed to the city.

"For your cup of coffee, it could be September before we get our share of the action," Reynolds said.
 

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latimes said:
Inland cities eager for 210 extension to open




Although the opening of the final leg of the 210 Freeway through Rialto and San Bernardino is still several months away, merchants and city officials are gleeful at the thought of new businesses already being planned along the roadway and for another route to the Los Angeles area.

"It can't happen too soon," said Midge Zupanic, president of the Rialto Chamber of Commerce, which is so happy at the prospect that it will hold its 100th anniversary black-tie gala on an unopened portion of the roadway on June 22.

The $233-million, 8-mile extension is scheduled to open by the end of the year. The Foothill Freeway now extends 67 miles from Sylmar in the San Fernando Valley through Pasadena, Arcadia, Azusa and San Dimas along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. It ends abruptly in Fontana, not its ultimate destination of San Bernardino. About a three-quarter-mile portion of the extension is open.

The extension will link the 210 Freeway to Interstate 215 and the present California 30, giving many San Bernardino-area residents what they have wanted for decades — relief from the congested San Bernardino Freeway and an alternate route to Los Angeles. The effect on surface streets will be mixed, residents say. North-south streets congested with cars now headed for Interstate 10 should see an improvement, but streets near the new freeway should see the flow increase.

Significant work still needs to be done, including finishing on- and offramps and erecting freeway signs. On one stretch of the freeway Friday, 50-foot-long, 3-foot-diameter steel tubes rested in an eastbound carpool lane, waiting to be formed into an overhead sign. Workers were still digging drainage ditches and were gluing Botts Dots lane markers onto the roadway with a sticky, black ooze.

Not everyone welcomes the extension, however. Some worry that the extension will only add to surface-street congestion and change the nature of their cities.

"You'll get trucks coming and going," said William Avery, 75, of Rialto, "which is highly undesirable and dangerous."

Planning for the Foothill Freeway began in 1948. But the portion proposed for San Bernardino County languished unbuilt for decades because of a lack of funds and priorities that put roads elsewhere. But San Bernardino County voters approved a half-cent-on-the-dollar sales tax in 1989 that provided the money. Nine years later, construction began on a 20-mile leg, from La Verne to Fontana, that opened in 2002.

Work on the last stretch started in 2003. The cost of the entire 28-mile project is estimated to be about $1.2 billion, most of it paid for by the sales tax, said Cheryl Donahue, spokeswoman for San Bernardino Associated Governments.

Despite the lack of an official opening date, many residents are happy it will be soon.

"Beautiful! I'm excited," said San Bernardino florist Edwin Alvarado, who hopes to see an end to the 15- to 20-minute delays he says he now encounters on busy surface streets when making deliveries.

"Any time you have a main artery coming through your city like that, it has to stimulate your economy," said San Bernardino barber Jerome Lewis.

In neighboring Rialto, some civic leaders hope the city can now change its reputation as largely a bedroom community by adding restaurants and commercial establishments. Even a Target store has so far eluded Rialto, though the city is home to the store's regional distribution center.

And they say many residents are happy they won't have to drive as far to get to major businesses and will have a wider selection of good restaurants nearby.

"You can't be a bedroom community and not have the things people want — the upscale amenities and the restaurants we want," Zupanic said. Developers are already sketching plans to develop some of the vacant land surrounding the freeway extension. Zupanic said 50,000 new homes are being considered for a city whose population is 100,000.

Preliminary plans are being made to transform 112 acres near Pepper Avenue into a development with as many as 236 single-family homes, 550 apartments and more than 340,000 square feet of commercial space, said Peter Templeton, one of those working on the idea.

The opportunities for changing the face of Rialto are dramatic, he said. The northern part of the city through which the 210 Freeway extension runs is mostly barren, with rock-crushing operations and sand and gravel pits.

"It was the backside of town for all these cities," Templeton said. "You build a new freeway there, and all of a sudden you build new opportunities and a bright future."

Earline Black, 59, said she savored the idea of strolling down the street from her Rialto home of 30 years, browsing at a Barnes & Noble bookstore or a JCPenney. Now, she says, she often must make shopping trips 22 miles west to Montclair or 14 miles east to Redlands.

But other residents have mixed feelings.

Beverly Clayton, 60, said she would enjoy the new freeway route when she visits family in Pasadena, but worries about increased truck traffic near her home. She is also not happy about the idea of apartments being built close to her neighborhood of single-family homes.

"It's a Catch-22," said Clayton, a retiree. "I love where I am. I love my home. It took me 30 years, and I don't want anything to come in and disturb that, and decrease my property values."

Across the street, Avery agreed with Clayton's concerns. He also hopes, however, that the freeway extension will boost the local economy.

The retired engineer said there wasn't much of a job market in San Bernardino and Rialto. "It'll get better when they build businesses along the 210. They're going to get more sales tax monies, and this whole city will make major changes when that occurs."

Such changes have benefited Fontana, Rialto's neighbor to the west, city officials there say. When that city gained access to the freeway in 2002, Fontana was opened up to San Gabriel Valley homeowners seeking to upsize their homes, said Fontana Mayor Mark Nuaimi.

"We saw quite an influx of folks moving down east on the 210," Nuaimi said. "With increased property values came increased family income and commercial development."

Since 2002, he said, major shopping centers have sprouted near the freeway, attracting auto dealerships, home improvement stores, and, last November, a Costco.

As a result, sales tax revenue for San Bernardino County's second-largest city has doubled in five years, Nuaimi said. Money has been freed up to invest in a new library and 40-acre regional park.

"All of that is tied from the 210 and connecting folks to the west," said Fontana Mayor Mark Nuaimi. "It's really been a major lifeblood for us."

But some warn that the freeway extension will put more pressure on existing roads like California 30 and the San Bernardino Freeway heading east toward Palm Springs, which have not yet been widened to accommodate growing traffic. California 30 will lose that designation and will become part of the 210 when the extension opens.

"Everyone's excited about it until they come to the reality — and I've been saying this for years — of … all the additional traffic," said Ross Jones, the mayor of Highland, just east of San Bernardino. "Locals are going to have to stick to surface streets." The problem, Jones said, is that these freeway improvements should have been completed two decades ago.

"That's part of the transportation problem in California: We under-design and under-plan for the growth and the need," Jones said. "Therefore, all our freeways are crammed because the demand just continues to increase."
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