BC alumnus carries out vision for downtown Stockton

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Sophie Gilliland, Opinion Editor

Many Stockton residents wish they were anywhere but Stockton.  Similarly, many Bear Creek students say they want to get out of Stockton after graduation and never come back. However, alumnus David Garcia hopes to change that view.

He works for the real estate development company Ten Space, a company devoted to renovating downtown Stockton.

Garcia, who graduated from Bear Creek in 2002, spent some time at UC Davis and Delta College before ending up at UCLA.  There, he majored in political science before going to graduate school at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and earning a Master’s degree in public policy.

Garcia worked for the federal government and ESPN, but eventually decided to come back to Stockton.

“What I learned away from Stockton is that there are so many innovative things happening in cities across the country that have far worse problems than we do here,” Garcia said. “I wanted to see the same growth and positive revitalization in my hometown.”

Garcia came back to improve Stockton and make people realize that the city is far better than they think.  His time with the federal government opened his eyes to a world of possibilities for Stockton and he hopes to implement them in the downtown renovation.

Ten Space has been working on the project since 2011 and Garcia joined them in 2014.  Tim Egkan, the former head of Ten Space, was murdered in September; his murder still remains unsolved.

“Tim’s vision was to bring out Stockton’s culture,” Joshua Washington, a 2008 alumnus of Bear Creek, said.  “So the more people Tim met the more he thought the culture was already here.”

Most people don’t realize that downtown Stockton has an amazing stock of historic buildings that you don’t get in smaller cities.”

— David Garcia

Washington now runs a music school in downtown Stockton.  He is eager to see the project expand and met Garcia through Egkan, who was a close friend.

“I think they’re doing a good job of continuing [Egkan’s] vision,” Washington said.

Washington praised Garcia for continuing to carry out Egkan’s plan for Stockton and says that the plan for downtown was approved by the City Council unanimously thanks to him.

“Our project (known as the Open Window Project) will transform 12 acres of land in downtown Stockton into a vibrant, thriving core for the entire city to enjoy,” Garcia said.

Through the Open Window Project, Ten Space wants to bring more residential, commercial, and retail space to downtown.  The renovation also includes adding more green space and urban agriculture to the downtown area.

Garcia’s job is to make sure that what is added to downtown enhances it while maintaining its important historic character.

Another part of the renovation is making people and businesses want to move to the downtown Stockton area.  What seems like an impossible task to many Stockton residents is actually pretty easy, Garcia insists.

“Once people see the potential that Downtown Stockton has and the energy that the people working down here exhibit, they want to be a part of that movement,” Garcia said.

One of the project’s goals is to make space for all the businesses that plan to move to Stockton and to make downtown generally more appealing.

“Most people don’t realize that Downtown Stockton has has an amazing stock of historic buildings that you don’t get in smaller cities,” Garcia said.

According to “The Record,” business analysts at University of the Pacific estimate that the project could eventually generate $2.7 million a year for Stockton.  The renovation is also expected to create over 800 jobs in downtown Stockton.