After living in Santa Ana for over three years, it seems as if things are finally happening in the empty lots just West of the Santiago Lofts.
When I first told my friends and family I was moving to Santa Ana, they thought I was crazy. But to me, it made perfect sense because I believe in this city–what it is, what it was, and what it could be.
As of Monday night, the Related/Griffin team is now one step closer in becoming the master developer for these nearby lots. And after three years of watching other cities evolve while Santa Ana moved at a snail's pace, I am filled with hope with the thought of what could come to our city.
But at the same time, my hopes are equally met with trepidation and fears.
Allow me to share some of my hopes and fears:
I'm hopeful that what we build, retains the quality residents already living here while attracting new ones who are invested in this city, looking to build stronger communities.
I'm fearful that like everything else in Santa Ana, it will take too long to develop and we'll have once again missed our window of opportunity.
I'm hopeful that within these ~7 acres being developed, creative open spaces and green spaces; such as parks (ground and rooftop) gardens (community/rooftop) are implemented.
I'm fearful that the children of our neighborhoods are to continue playing in empty parking lots–such as those that do everyday at Garfield Elementary.
I'm hopeful the grand vision for the Station District is for a creative, urban renewal that activates our streets and would rival the revivals that took place in destinations such as University Heights (Park Blvd/Adams Ave) in San Diego and Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.
I'm fearful that the design cues will be taken from stale city of Irvine.
I'm hopeful that when finally implemented, the streetcar is a new avenue that brings commerce to Santa Ana.
I'm fearful the streetcar will just be another way to fabulous Garden Grove.
I'm hopeful that whatever ground floor retail & restaurants planned for these lots "fit"–having something for everyone.
I'm fearful that the driving force that thought it would be okay to:
- Allowed Ware set up shop in Logan
- Build stucco monstrosities in the middle of French Park
- Not develop amenities in conjunction with the Santiago Lofts at the train depot parking lot
- Have an El Pollo Loco as the only walkable restaurant to the world famous Bowers Museum (not including Tangata which is located adjacent to the museum)
I'm hopeful in that Santa Ana will some day become a true destination city; where new circulation is brought to our streets–where places like Downtown, The Fiesta Marketplace, 4th Street, and the Station District (including the train depot) are ventured to by people all over Southern California.