In 2001 Stockbridge prepared a plan for its downtown that called for revitalizing the area with civic buildings, housing, shops, offices, and public space. Through 2007 much progress was made towards this end, including new public buildings and open spaces. Then the “Great Recession” halted on the plan’s private development piece – leaving empty parks and vacant building pads where a downtown had been envisioned. As part of a 10-year plan update, TSW was retained in 2011 to review the plan and create a new implementation-focused strategy for the stalled Town Center Project and the surrounding 2,660-acre area. Via a year-long process, TSW worked with residents, businesses and property owners to update this vision and create a market-based strategy for achieving it.
A key difference between the 2001 and 2011 plans was the type of mixed-use development. While the initial plan relied heavily on vertical mixed-uses and structured parking, the new plan called for a more investor-friendly horizontal mixed-use program that relied on parking lots and on-street parking. These were arranged to enable incremental development under weak market conditions, or higher density development if and when the market strengthened. In addition, the plan called for pop-up shops, markets, food trucks, and similar temporary uses that could occupy the Town Center until permanent buildings were feasible – estimated at 2016.