By Carlos Correa

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Excitement for the future of Stockton is building as more and more businesses consider making the move to downtown, an opportunity city leaders say will help redefine the city.

Right now, the search is on for new tenants to fill vacant storefronts including space next to the Stockton arena – the future home of the Sacramento Kings G League franchise.

For the last three years, Stockmarket, a community festival filled with food and live music has been bringing attention to underutilized areas of the city. Now, it’s planning to return to downtown Stockton just as it begins to boom.

“This is what we’ve needed for a long, long time, and it’s finally started to happen just in the last few years since we started this event in particular, we’ve seeing amazing growth, every weekend there is too many things to do,” said Amy Sieffert, Goodstock Productions.

Visitors can already see the change happening in downtown Stockton. Buildings are being renovated into apartments, a new restaurant is being built, and storefronts are filling up with new business. Community leaders say that’s a good thing.

“We want kids on the street, we want baby strollers out there, we want people, you know, walkable downtown and enjoy the amenities that exist down here already,” said Michael Huber, executive director, Downtown Stockton Alliance.

Downtown already has a variety of food options, coffee, and a movie theater. It also has hockey, baseball and soon basketball games. But there is room for more business including the space below the arena parking lot.

“The city is making some very attractive incentives for businesses to build those out and take occupation of those,” he said.

City leaders are hosting tours of the 15,000 square foot commercial space, hoping to find the perfect tenant to complement the neighborhood and the entertainment venue.

“I think it’s a very exciting time,” said Anne Wilcox, Goodstock Productions.

The city is open to negotiate a favorable lease or even provide tenant improvement assistance for the property. Long-time residents just want something that will benefit the community.

“I think anything that brings culture to an area, art galleries, different bars, or just things that add a creative field, it makes feel unique to the city, and I think that is important because Stockton has such a great character. I think it’s important to shine through,” said Wilcox.

The tour is scheduled for April 18 at 11 a.m. at 310 W. Fremont, but this weekend just a few blocks down at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza is where Stockmarket will be hosting its community festival.

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