Downtown Plano: Creating A Transit Village
Not long ago, downtown Plano was the nearly forgotten commercial center of a farming community displaced by metropolitan expansion. Today, downtown Plano is reemerging as an urban center, stimulated in part by the coming of light rail transit. New development containing nearly 500,000 square feet of floor area was recently completed, adding 463 urban apartments and 40,000 square feet of non-residential development to the compact 80-acre downtown. Historic commercial and civic buildings are being restored, including the adaptive reuse of the city’s first school gymnasium (built in 1938) as a performing arts theater; and new single-family housing is contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods adjoining downtown. Plano provides insight on the use of light rail transit (LRT) and the principles of new urbanism to create an urban activity center within the context of older commercial development and as a sustainable development strategy for a maturing suburban city.