The McConnell Foundation’s Bell Plaza bike depot, café and outdoor courtyard, located on the corner of Shasta and California streets in downtown Redding is visibly taking shape with framing underway. This project is a nod to a piece of Redding’s history at the former Bell Rooms site, while creating a new community amenity.
The Foundation made a 10-year funding commitment to Community Vitality in 2017. This property was the Foundation’s first downtown acquisition and is its first “ground-up” downtown development. The courtyard will be bicycle and pet-friendly.
“The depot will be a visitor’s center for transit. It’s a ‘Start Here’ spot for biking and using trails in and around Redding and the North State,” shared Anne Thomas, who will manage the Shasta Bike Depot.
Located next to Redding’s downtown Transit Center, the depot will include a public bike parking garage, classes, community events, an e-bike charging station, guided e-bike tours, and bikeshare. The vision of the depot is to offer amenities that create “comfort, convenience, and enjoyment, for the increasing number of people who choose to walk and bike to get where they want to go,” Thomas said. “This will be a place to find answers to questions, such as ‘Where do I ride?’ ‘What do I wear?’ ‘Where do I find people to ride with?’ ‘How do I put my bike on the bus?’”
McConnell selected Trilogy Architecture as the project designer, with its long-term presence and focus downtown. Modern Building Company is the general contractor. The company has several projects under construction in Redding, and has historic restoration experience in Chico and North Carolina.
“Programming the bike depot to complement the bike network improvements that the City of Redding, Caltrans and SRTA are undertaking is exciting. Imagine a family hopping on bikes near the Sundial Bridge, and easily getting to a downtown destination. Or a person who lives downtown being able to easily access the world-class Sacramento River Trail by bike,” said Rachel Hatch, Senior Program Officer for Community Vitality. “Downtowns that thrive, are those that are bikeable and walkable.”
Bicycle tourism is an important economic driver for the future of Redding, contributing $83 billion to the US economy annually. In addition, it’s a vital option for Redding residents to get around town. “When we give people the resources, skills and confidence they need to get around safely and conveniently by bike, they discover the ease and joy of bicycling. People in Redding and Shasta County aren’t just ready for this – they are excited about it,” Thomas said.
The Foundation is seeking a café operator that will serve fresh local foods, featuring indoor and outdoor seating. “Our café goal is for it to serve as a lively downtown spot; a place to linger and visit over food and beverages, with options for grab & go. Refuel, explore, repeat,” said Hatch. Key components of community vitality overlap in this project. Active lifestyles, local foods, adaptive reuse, surrounded by small businesses, housing, arts and culture.”
Bell Plaza will open to the public in the spring of 2022.