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Downtown Walnut Creek, post-Neiman Marcus

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

imageThe Chronicle’s John King takes a turn looking at Walnut Creek’s often-analyzed (and envied) evolution as a suburban model, now that Neiman Marcus has become the latest upscale retailer to settle there. No sooner had the store’s doors swung open than the developer behind the Broadway Plaza shopping center where it was added unveiled a proposal to further transform the downtown center in the years ahead. Says King:

In Walnut Creek, part of the appeal of this city at the historic crossroads of Contra Costa County is that it took shape before suburbanization became a predictable march of self-contained subdivisions and malls. Downtown is a lazy grid alongside ridges that step up to Mt. Diablo; on the perimeter, multi-family housing dating back to the 1970s is shrouded in trees.

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The fresh twist is that residential builders are prowling within the grid, where small blocks and modestly scaled commercial buildings of varying quality still set the tone.

Image: ABC 7


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