By Carlos Correa

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Business leaders in Stockton are working with city leaders to help rebuild more than 100 square blocks that make up the downtown district.

The plan includes working with police to keep things safe and attracting more investors from Sacramento and in the Bay Area who may be willing to spend their money.

The Downtown Alliance is the agency providing economic development here in Stockton. It’s now reaching out to businesses that are being priced out of Sacramento and the Bay Area.

Mitch Wirrick recently moved to Stockton from Michigan in the hopes of starting his own business. He’s a barber working right in the middle of downtown.

“We get a lot of walk-in business, you know, people handling their business downtown,” he said.

Like many entrepreneurs, Wirrick chose the valley over the Bay Area because the cost of living is much cheaper. He says finding property in Stockton won’t put him in debt.

“Now is actually the time to get in before it’s too late and it will cost too much,” he said.

The Downtown Alliance advocates on behalf of the businesses in the downtown district. Its currently has a real estate directory on its website that features available space to buy or rent.

“I think right now there is an immense amount of interest in downtown Stockton because of its proximity to the Bay Area and tech. And, investors see the valley as a place where there is good labor and utilities and land, it’s inexpensive as compared to where they are looking in L.A. and San Francisco,” said Dan Cort, CEO and president of Cort Companies.

Leaders with visit Stockton, the area’s tourism office, said attracting more investors begins with developing the downtown, an area they consider to be the heart of Stockton.

“Downtown Stockton definitely has the positive of having a lot of opportunity for investment in buildings and architecture, we have space, we have space for people to come over from the bay area and bring their businesses here,” said Robyn Cheshire, Visit Stockton.

Business leaders hope to fill empty buildings with companies that will help compliment the ballpark, the arena and the marina.

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