A new initiative by the City of Norwalk aims to revamp the corridors which comprise the city's historic downtown core through new zoning rules and public realm improvements.

The Heart of Norwalk plan, now in the environmental review phase, encompasses a roughly 615-acre area in central Norwalk, bounded by Imperial Highway to the north, the I-5 Freeway to the east, Rosecrans Avenue to the south, and Pioneer Boulevard to the west.

Activated Five Points intersectionCity of Norwalk

The draft specific plan targets three areas for redevelopment with a mix of housing and commercial uses, including its historic Front Street District, which parallels Firestone Boulevard at its intersection with San Antonio Drive, a Triangle District at the northern edge of the plan area adjacent to Imperial Highway, and a Town Square District at its southern edge at Pioneer Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue.

In addition to facilitating new development, the plan would also:

  • reconfigure Front Street as a one-way street with curbside parking expanded sidewalks to either side;
  • reconfigure San Antonio Drive to incorporate a linear park between the Town Square, Front Street, and the Norwalk Civic Center with space for cyclists and pedestrians; and
  • create a Norwalk Railway Corridor Trail to provide a greenway adjacent to an existing BNSF railroad right-of-way featuring a trail, artwork, and cultural exhibitions.

The proposed rezoning of sites along the main commercial boulevards of the corridor would see increased zoning capacity for housing, with allowable densities ranging from 40 to 80 dwelling units per acre.

A full buildout of this plan, which could occur over 30 years, could result in the construction of more than 3,000 residential units and 173,000 square feet of commercial uses in buildings up to five stories in height. That alone would account for more than 60 percent of the city's obligation to rezone for roughly 5,000 residential units.

Hearth of Norwalk map with full buildoutCity of Norwalki

Redevelopment has already started at some sites within the plan area: an affordable housing complex is now taking shape on Foster Road just south of Front Street, and another housing development from Primestor is in the works nearby.

Norwalk has also considered plans for several other large housing developments within its boundaries, including a partial redevelopment of its Civic Center, a project at the former site of the Southern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic, and a 209-unit complex along Alondra Boulevard.

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