MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Members of the Downtown Mobile Alliance said they hope to get a formal report on a plan to redevelop downtown before Christmas.
Community leaders are still looking over ideas presented by a national urban design firm that could bring some big changes to the city.
Urban Planner Andres Duany met with Mobile civic leaders and residents, toured downtown and presented some re-development ideas to leaders. One thought: demolish the Civic Center Arena.
Carol Hunter with the Downtown Mobile Alliance said the proposal was to "re-develop that entire 26 acres, with shopping, housing, internal parking."
Or, Alliance officials said, Duany said you could keep the Civic Center Arena and, according to Hunter, "he even suggested that the Arena become a Target Department Store, one of the coolest Target Department Stores in the country, he said."
How much work would be involved?
Hunter said, "As [Duany] said, all you'd have to do is paint the stripes on the roof and you're ready to go."
Of course, Alliance officials said that would mean Mardi Gras balls and other big family events that are held at the Civic Center Arena would have to be moved to another site.
That site doesn't really exist right now.
Duany also talked about the need for a neighborhood grocery store, and suggested building one in an area near Government and Broad Streets, backing up to the old Red Cross building.
Hunter said, "There are stores that enjoy urban environments, and certainly know how to make that work, without acres and acres of parking, and, of course, if you have enough people living downtown, you don't need as much as parking."
But, whatever changes or zoning adjustments are made, Duany said they need to be done quickly, as new businesses will be moving in soon because of the Airbus facility.
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