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City of Soledad seeks $11 million for Front Street shipping container village

SOLEDAD, Calif. (KION-TV)- UPDATE ON OCT. 17, 2023 AT 6402 PM- The City of Soledad will be growing in a couple of years when they add some businesses in downtown Soledad, and some people are excited about it. 

“It's going to bring jobs that we really need, and the city will grow,” said Elisama Pulido, who lives in Soledad. "And I think it's important for people that live here like me.”

Soledad City leaders said there's still work to be done to be able to showcase the final product.

“Exploratory phase because we really want to get the site prep work done," said Soledad City Manager, Megan Hunter. "And most importantly, the environmental clearance work done."

Hunter said after that step, the City of Soledad can apply for grants. Their plan is to secure 11 million from federal, state, and private grants, and possibly local funding.

Hunter said the railroad tracks in front of where the project will be built were never an issue.

“It hasn't been a deterrent," said Soledad City Manager, Hunter, “When we do build it, we'll probably look at some kind of protection from the railroad to the development to minimize noise and other impacts."
Soledad  City Leaders said they allocated half a million dollars through the American Rescue Plan to do the design, site prep, and environmental review of the project.

City of Soledad plan on a Front Street Makeover with a shipping container village

UPDATE ON MAY 8, 2023 AT 6:02 PM- The City of Soledad will be adding some new businesses to the main strip of the town. But they won't be using buildings typical for the area -- instead, they're using shipping containers according to Community/Economic Development Director Bryan Swanson

“We're hoping that shipping these different shipping containers can bring businesses and breweries and wineries to downtown Front Street, to a property that in the past has been very hard to redevelop,” Swanson said.

This shipping container project will be located on Front Street between Soledad and Kidder Street.

The city is not only excited to bring new developments to the area, but also the local businesses and public are excited to see how much the city of Soledad continues to grow.

One anonymous person told KION

“It's just refreshing to hear that somebody is taking the initiative to put something more here. Something to give the people or the residents something to look forward to. We don’t have to commute to Salinas for certain things. We can actually hang out here and be amongst our own residents and the community.”

Multiple design concepts exist for the project. Although the city has a favorite, they're still looking to finalize the project in the near future.

“The community wants a place for families, for couples from all ages, to be able to come and maybe sit around a firepit, to have a beer to bring their kids,” Swanson said.

Between the three designs, each had a certain message they wanted to achieve.

The first was a courtyard style that would focus on providing food, drinks, and retail. The second would be a style where people can stroll and appreciate the historical heritage of the Soledad area while doing different outdoor activities and enjoying the different food and drinks.

The option the city chose was number three which looks to not only appreciate the history of Soledad but make the area a catalyst of the Soledad identity when people come to visit.

As far as the financial side of things, the city says its intent is to reach agreements with private developers to contribute to the development of this project.

The City of Soledad will start marketing the new project to developers and look to come to terms on several development agreements to contribute to the project.

Soledad planning to turn Front Street to shipping container village to attract businesses

In South Monterey County, the City of Soledad has some unique plans to revitalize downtown. 

City officials are working on creating a village out of shipping containers on Front Street.

This rendering from the city shows what it could look like. 

Soledad says they chose shipping containers because the city owns land parcels in the long and narrow area.

A village of 12 containers would cost between $6 to $10 million and include space for restaurants, retailers, and even an outdoor stage. 

The goal here is to provide people with more options to shop locally instead of traveling to Salinas or the Peninsula for goods and services. 

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Katie Nicora

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