The downtown Clayton master plan and retail strategy seeks to transform the central business district (CBD) from a weekday corporate environment with good food and beverage establishments into a more vibrant and diverse mixed-use urban district that is a model of social, economic, and environmental sustainability for the next generation of Clayton's corporations, businesses, services, and residents. The planning and design challenge and opportunity is to use Clayton's attractiveness to corporate headquarters, offices and professional service firms as a catalyst to transform the CBD into an 18 hours a day, seven days a week destination urban environment. Its broad range of residential, retail, civic, and entertainment uses will complement its strong employment uses.
Since the previous master plan was completed in 1993, a number of significant changes have occurred that impacted the development of Clayton's downtown. Locally, there has been turnover in property ownership and Clayton has become a first choice corporate office location. Regionally, infrastructure has been improved and a light rail system features two CBD stations. Nationally, the economy has shifted—small scale retail is challenged by regional malls and big box stores. There is also a renewed sense of community interest requiring stakeholder input and consensus on the future of Clayton's CBD. Sasaki prepared the master plan and retail strategy to provide the city with a vision for future development opportunities and civic improvements to enhance the public realm, update and streamline existing zoning regulations, and provide implementation strategies for future public and private investment and development.
The CBD plan sets forth a flexible framework for development, integrating and anticipating the actions of the public sector and the private sector. Ten principles form the foundation for the recommendations in the plan. Within this framework, a great variety of decisions can be made over time to create a richly textured downtown, while still ensuring a shared vision of the overall outcome.
Rather than operate in a reactive mode, the city initiated this planning process to celebrate each area of the downtown while looking at how all the pieces fit together. The city's goal is to direct and shape private investment through consistent policies and targeted capital improvements. A fundamental underpinning of the current planning process has been to create a vision for the area through community participation so that this input can help shape the strategic recommendations.
The vision for the CBD strengthens its existing strengths—a healthy office market, excellent dining, and good access by car and public transportation—to guide the evolution of the downtown reflecting demographic changes and market trends necessary to stay competitive regionally and nationally. The master plan looks beyond these existing strengths to achieve a better functioning downtown. In the future, the downtown will offer more diverse retail and housing market opportunities, a civic realm that enables people to walk easily between destinations with pedestrian-friendly streets and sidewalks, diverse residential options for young professionals and empty nesters, more specialty retail, updated hospitality, cultural venues, and great civic spaces.
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