Redlands City Council Approves Mixed-Use Facility: 700 apartments, condos, restaurants, and More

By: Sharjeel Sohaib

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May 18, 2022

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Redlands City Council

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Redlands City Council voted to develop a new project in place of Redlands Mall. The Redlands Mall project was reviewed for five hours Tuesday night at a special combined meeting of the Redlands City Council and the Planning Commission. Both committees overwhelmingly opted to move forward with the redevelopment of the mall.

Much of the conversation on Tuesday night centered on the project’s physical components.

We Covered this in our Weekly Wire Roundup

The City Council Votes to Proceed With Mall Development.

On Wednesday, Brian Desatnik, the city’s development services director, stated that the developer had sought a development agreement that includes the period of the deal, the city’s fee structure, a construction date, and when entitlements would expire.

Several people voiced concerns that the Housing Crisis Act of 2019, commonly known as SB330, was pressuring the commission. Housing plans must be approved in five meetings or less under the Housing Crisis Act. The combined meeting last night was convened in part to follow the law.

According to Desatnik, the reconstruction proposal might be authorized with specified objective requirements. The rejection of this project is based on particular health and safety problems that were not detected.

Village Partners LLC, the mall’s applicant, submitted its designs for a transit-oriented makeover. Following community members’ complaints regarding the architectural components of the proposals, the commission was presented with several alterations to the initial plans.

Village Partners’ architect John Ellis of the Seattle-based company Mithun informed the commission that much of the planned development is influenced by historical Redlands architecture.

The Santa Fe Depot, Post Office, and A.K. Smiley Library are featured in Ellis’ State Street Village designs.

The commission also expressed concerns about water features and the exterior façade of multiple buildings, while community members in attendance portrayed parking and project density issues.

There were over 25 public respondents, with around half in favor and half against the initiative. Many opponents of the proposal raised severe worries about the development’s potential to increase parking difficulties.

The project includes commercial and residential parking designs with a total capacity of 1,000 spaces. Commenters were also concerned that the project’s density would cause traffic congestion in the downtown area.

The Redlands Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, Evan Sanford, raised his voice about the level of construction.

“We are at a very critical time in the city’s growth, all in the span of a few years, the train, the mall, the mixed-use development plan for the old public safety building, the University Village, a potential Hilton Hotel, all in the span of about two miles … for them all to be approved and under construction in the next few years is an enormous risk.”

~ Evan Sanford, Redlands Chamber of Commerce’s executive director. 

Many of the community’s younger residents favor the project’s additional housing choices. Those in favor expressed enthusiasm for the project’s long-term viability, which has minor environmental implications than urban sprawl expansions near the city’s border.

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