With the 2016 presidential election less than a month away, developers in the Antioch and Lazaro cities are exploring a citywide effort to transform neighborhoods in the wake of an influx of immigrants.
A new nonprofit, The Antioch Urban Development Corporation, is leading the effort to build a community that includes affordable housing, transit, and public transportation.
Its goal is to connect the two cities, and it hopes to reach out to other cities in the region.
“We’re going to try to create the city that the Antichosians want, not the city they have right now,” said Scott DeCesare, co-founder and CEO of the organization.
The organization is partnering with local developers to build housing, retail, a hotel, and community centers.
“This is not a city for the wealthy,” he added.
“It’s a city of opportunity.”
In Antioch, the city is undergoing a massive transformation.
Since the Great Recession, population growth has outpaced population growth in Lazaro.
The city’s population has shrunk by nearly 5 percent since 2010, to about 2,500 residents.
But, according to the city’s Census data, it’s been growing rapidly since then.
“Antioch has grown tremendously in the last 15 years,” said Paul Johnson, vice president of the Antopolis Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re now a city with a population of almost three million.”
Antioch’s city plan includes new development along the banks of the I-70 corridor.
Johnson said this would be a major boon to residents who rely on Interstate 70 for transportation.
“The new lanes will help people get to jobs and other things,” Johnson said.
“They’re going not only to increase the speed of traffic, but also help make the city more livable.”
The city has also launched a $10 million “urban innovation fund” to support new businesses, including a brewery and restaurant.
The new city will also include a mixed-use development called The Urban Garden, which includes a hotel and an apartment building, Johnson said, along with retail, restaurants, and more.
“It’s going to be a hub for people to come and live in a different environment,” he said.
The city is looking to create its own zoning code.
A plan released this month outlines the city plan, but it’s unclear what kind of regulations the new city plan will require.
For example, it doesn’t require an occupancy tax, a levy on developers that is required in other cities.
Johnson said the city will need to consult with stakeholders in the area before any changes are made.
He said the development team is focused on creating a cohesive plan that will provide the residents of Antioch with affordable housing and public transit, along the way.
“That’s really what we’re trying to do,” he explained.
“In Lazaro, we were able to take advantage of a lot of resources we already had,” said Johnson.
“In Antopolis, we’re going for the same thing.
We want to build the city we want to live in.”