As a former resident of Mountain View, California, was proud and amazed by how that city managed to turn a virtual ghost town into a destination city.
Shopping malls (such as Stanford Shopping Center and Sunnyvale Town Center) were sucking businesses away from downtown Mountain View. These voids were gradually filled by whichever businesses that the city could lure. Valid and useful businesses in their own right, they yet didn’t have the universal appeal that Mountain View really needed.
I’m not sure how Mountain View did it; there were probably now-extinct California redevelopment dollars involved. Many assume that this was due to “Google dollars”; but this was before Google’s success.
It’s obvious that the Mountain View miracle would never have happened without innovative design, community involvement – and a willingness to think big!
Currently, as a “destination city”, it’s considered a treat (or a date) to simply walk down Castro Street and see what one discovers. Empty storefronts are quickly seized by businesses anxious to have space in this area.
It’s ironic that now, many districts such as Santana Row will invest millions in ripping down old malls and building artificial downtown areas!