Novato: A case study

Downtown Awakening

Novato, like this southern California town of Alpine, is a small town that could revitalize its faded center and offer residents amenities within walking distance.

Downtown Novato is known for its picturesque avenue lined with mostly one-story buildings, but it is struggling to attract shoppers. Adding homes along Grant Avenue and Redwood Boulevard will provide nearby customers for local businesses, and could support additional stores in the area. Creating homes that are affordable to local workers would also help reduce long commutes and enable people to live in the community they serve.

Julia Ross has lived in Novato for 18 years, and likes to walk her dog along Grant Avenue. She believes that some small-scale mixed-use development would benefit downtown Novato. “There are some dead zones in down-town. It has to grow in order to support new business.”


Arni McKinley,who works at XET Solar in downtown Novato, is looking forward to more businesses revitalizing the downtown. He believes the area needs more benches, a gym, and more diversity of shops and services. “The Grant Avenue stores have been around a long time. But they get old quick.”

At A Glance

Area of focus:
Grant Avenue and Redwood Boulevard

What it is now:
A sleepy downtown

What it could become:
A vibrant downtown

Why here:
SMART train corridor

Infill opportunity sites:

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