The Building Boom That's Sinking Stockton

The California city borrowed heavily to renovate downtown
A former bank building was supposed to be the new City Hall Photograph by Clifford Oto/The Record

In 2005, Stockton, Calif., unveiled a gleaming sports arena on its waterfront, part of a $145 million plan to draw people downtown. The 10,000-seat facility, a glass-walled symbol of the city’s battle against downtown blight, was part of a redevelopment boom that also saw the addition of a 5,000-seat minor league ballpark, a 650-space parking garage, a 66-slip marina, and the purchase of an eight-story City Hall. “This is the project that’s going to bring folks home, and it’s going to bring people from around the region to Stockton,” then-council member Leslie Martin said in 2004 when the waterfront revival was approved.

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