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Old Town Temecula is site for new civic center

Old Town Temecula as it is known today began in the 1880s. The introduction of a stagecoach stop and post office during this time allowed Temecula to experience its first development boom. Over the years, Temecula has developed a rich history.

When Temecula became a city in 1989, the City Council determined that increased preservation of the Old Town area needed to be a priority. The Old Town Specific Plan was written and approved by the City Council in 1994. The Temecula Redevelopment Agency (RDA) was founded soon after in 1995 and the Historic Old Town District was placed within the boundary of the new agency.

The RDA initiated a $5.2 million streetscape project in July 1998. The project involved a major facelift of Old Town's entire business district, combining historical buildings with new improvements.

Temecula Civic Center and Town Square will be built in Old Town.

Redevelopment has proven to be a viable financial tool for Temecula. It has improved the quality of life in neighborhoods as well as stimulating growth in business districts through projects, programs and improvements.

A beautiful downtown area has been created where families can gather to enjoy great shopping, dining and participate in real "hometown celebrations." A wi-fi network offers individuals the ability to access the Internet and receive e-mail free of charge in Old Town. The renovation also greatly impacts Temecula's exceptional tourism climate by attracting new businesses and customers to the area. The city also continues to encourage housing opportunities in and around the Old Town District.

The city's new Civic Center project is currently under design. Its three major components will be developed in stages on a 6.75 gross acre site in Old Town Temecula at the corner of Mercedes Street and Main Street.

Phase one will see the construction of a multiple-level parking structure that can accommodate 480 vehicles. Three prominent facades of the structure will be designed reminiscent of a 1930s California streetscape to help disguise the parking garage. Approximately 9,000 square feet of office space will also be developed within the parking structure that will be utilized by the city.

A town square slightly less than one acre will be constructed at the intersection of Main Street and Mercedes Street. The preliminary design includes a central civic lawn surrounded on two sides by brick paved surfaces and trees to offer shade and define Main Street. A large water fountain will be constructed to allow water to cascade down to street level on a series of steps.

Phase one will also include street improvements along Mercedes Street and the realignment of Main Street to form a "U" that surrounds the park. The existing electrical poles in the majority of Old Town will be removed and the lines placed underground.

The second phase will consist of the construction of an approximately 93,500-square-foot civic center adjacent to the parking structure. Along with this phase the city will partner in the development of a 52,000-square-foot retail office space on both sides of the Town Square. Current thought is for retail and restaurant uses to occupy the first floor and offices to occupy the second floor. The design envisions several buildings with paseos that lead to adjacent properties.

The Town Square Marketplace is the commercial retail component of the exciting new civic center in Old Town Temecula. Ringing the Town Square Plaza and located across from the proposed City Hall, the Marketplace is proposed to include up to 52,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and offices in four two-story buildings. The city of Temecula will be recruiting a master developer to construct this project in the heart of Old Town.

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