The last project in the re-creation of downtown Anaheim is scheduled to break ground before year’s end. The project will bring
While downtown Anaheim has become a job center for office workers, medical professionals and public employees, downtown is
pretty well limited to an 8-to-5 schedule. The new project–about 490 loft apartments and for-sale townhouses–is expected to
bring round-the-clock life to downtown, induce retail success, provide density needed for express bus transit, and offer needed
Anaheim’s downtown renewal is one of several ongoing in the cities of Orange County, which has long been considered only a
collection of suburbs without centers. Different cities have taken different approaches to downtown redevelopment. Brea
created one of the country’s first newfangled instant downtowns (see CP&DR Places, January 1998). Santa Ana is building on
a flourishing arts district. Fullerton has dedicated years and resources to retaining its core commercial area. Anaheim,
meanwhile, wiped the slate clean and started over.
Downtown was a tired, mostly industrial 100-acre slice of a 2.369-acre redevelopment project area that the city adopted in 1973.
Over tune, the city applied many items from the redevelopment tool box to downtown: The city acquired the entire 100 acres,
demolished buildings, assembled parcels for sale to developers, built infrastructure, placed utility lines underground, erected
parking structures and created pleasant streetscapes. A wave of area construction during the late 1970s and early 1980s was
followed by an even bigger swell of building during late 1980s and early 1990s, when about 600,000 square feet of office space
was built in 8- to 11-story towers, according to Community Development Deputy Director Brad Hobson.
“From the commercial development perspective, it really was starting over with the downtown area,” he said. Today, about
13,800 people work in approximately 1 million square fleet of downtown office space, which has a relatively low vacancy rate of
While the city started over with the commercial core, it has worked to preserve the historic residential neighborhoods right
around downtown, known as the Anaheim Colony Historic District. Residents, the city and a consultant. The Planning Center,
have worked on design guidelines intended to meld new and old. And those guidelines plus extensive community input–have
helped shape the final project in downtown.
City officials and the CIM Group are planning for a 6-acre development of about 490 housing units and 60,000 square feet of
retail development. Some of the structures will have a 1920s and 1930s feel to them, with brick warehouse characteristics.