The city of Vancouver is in the midst of a deal to buy nearly 12 acres of the Town Plaza property in the central part of the city with hopes of injecting new life into the area.The Town Plaza, formerly known as Tower Mall, was put up for sale through a private auction and listed as distressed property. The city plans to spend $5 million to purchase the site. The transaction is set to close June 28. “The city has a history of successful redevelopment activities,” Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes said, pointing to the downtown Esther Short Park redevelopment area as an example. Twenty years ago, downtown Vancouver looked quite different. Esther Short Park had a reputation as a crime-ridden jungle that, after dusk, was surrounded by empty streets. The city made some strategic investments in the downtown area, including coming up with a master plan in 1996 that leveraged millions of dollars in private investment. Today, new buildings surround the park on all sides, and Main Street is home to a thriving restaurant and nightclub district.“We didn’t buy all of downtown. We developed the vision, did the planning necessary and invested in the public infrastructure to support that vision,” Holmes said.