A sports bar is opening there. Pathetic.
Problem is, there's not enough foot traffic in downtown. The city doesn't invest any money or energy in creating an atmosphere to entice people to walk the streets. We need street entertainers like Downtown Santa Barbara, Pier 39, etc. We need more retail stores like a sports apparel store that sells Sharks, Earthquakes, Sabercats, and other bay area team gear. We need help!
Yeah, downtown needs some serious help. As much as I would love to see it grow organically (which it has had plenty of time to do without success), I think we need a development similar to Santana Row. There are plenty of other retail stores (Zara, Uniqlo, etc) that could populate the area and create another attraction that wouldn't compete with SR. Basically, decades have gone by and not much has changed. It's dead...even on the weekdays.
Also, I wish that House of Blues proposed a ways back had gone through. That alone would be a huge boon for downtown and SJ in general. The live music scene here is bunk.
I would disagree that not much has changed and that it is dead. I remember the Downtown San Jose from 15 years ago, 10 years ago, and 5 years ago... and in all cases the Downtown of today is markedly better. It used to be a complete ghost town on the weekends and now even when there are no major events going on, I see a decent amount of people on the streets including families (which you would never see 15 years ago). It is growing organically, just not as fast as we would all like.
Downtown was on fire with the Sharks playoff, club scene and San Jose Live. What do you mean it was dead or a ghost town. It was jumpin' with SofA at its best back then with FX and Marsugi's. Don't forget about the Dimension where 360 now stand. How about in year 2000 before the Dotcom bust. Downtown was really bustling with lunch rush on Santa Clara St. and clubs and restaurants like E&O were packed. I guess you guys only remember immediately after the Dotcom bust when downtown emptied for a while. It wasn't downtown fault. It was 9/11 attack and people were afraid to go out in urban areas, and downtown suffered because of that.
Do you live or work downtown? Curious how would you know that other than occasional visits? The Anonymous comment above is on point and accurate.And... the person commenting doesn't say that they hate San Jose. They are not bashing it. This blog would be so much more interesting if you spoke more often in realistic terms about the city. That way, there might be more a productive dialogue and exchange of ideas about how to improve it.
I was too young to enjoy SoFA in the late 90s, so I missed that part. However, I did volunteer for the Redevelopment Agency agency in the early 2000s, at the absolute peak of the boom. I would walk the streets for hours and there were definitely fewer people back then then there are today, both weekdays and weekends.As for SGO, this comment really pisses me off. I have been Downtown literally over 1000 times and have always been a strong advocate. I have been to 93% of all restaurants Downtown (more than anyone else period), stayed at just about every hotel, and am deeply in the loop with everything that is happening. If you are insinuating that I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't live Downtown, I would kindly ask you to find some other blog to read. If you don't like what I post, don't read it... it's that simple. There are no ads here, this is not the Mercury News.Also, I am not opposed to posting negative articles about Downtown San Jose, but I'm also not going to waste what very little free time I have writing them. If you want to post your own commentary or rant about Downtown, you are completely free to email me and I'll put it up.
Visiting and staying in hotels is different from living and working here everyday and knowing downtown for what it is. And I'm not knocking it, as I choose to live and work here, but the city is sort of a hot mess and has an incredibly long way to go. I didn't ask you to post "negative articles" about downtown. Instead, I suggested that you create a dialogue that acknowledges real issues like the lack of quality downtown housing (that isn't some financially strapped condo tower), the lack of retail (without immediately reminding everyone about Muji), how to confront the massive homeless population, etc. Your readers might have ideas about how to improve these things. Apparently, that type of talk is against the rules. Signing out.............
SGO, Josh, let's take a breather for both of you (and some of you Anon folks too)All the things you noted that are "realistic" issues are true. And they have already been discussed throughout the years on this blog, either by Josh's posts or by comments. These are issues that we know about.We know about the housing in downtown. There's nothing much we can do about it other than to wait and see. But the progress is there! We know about the lack of retail. No need to beat a dead horse. Josh likes to bring up Muji because it carries a small hope that this will be the start to a mini-boom in retail in downtown. Josh brings up Muji to recognize that there is progress, albeit VERY SLOWLY, being done. But again, we need to wait and see.We know about the homeless population. They are definitely NOT massive. But they are there, and they ARE an annoyance. This topic, though, is rarely brought up here because there just HAS NOT been any workable initiatives from our city government or any other groups to address the issue, thus not much news for this area, and thus Josh doesn't post much about them. Though, I think we should discuss this issue sometime in the future on this blog, as I'm very concerned about this issue but don't know what to say about it, but would like to see what everyone else has to say, ideas, and all that.This blog is really Josh's enthusiastic outlook on San Jose, the city that he (and I, and you, and WE) loves. Look, we all have real life jobs here with other problems/issues in our own lives, so it's nice to come here and just take a breather and read on some bit of excitement for our city. I'm not saying that we ignore the "realistic issues" and act like they don't exist. They do exist. But they are NOT that bad. And there are progresses. And we know about them already, so no need to rehash them over and over again.SGO, your comments are articulate and I understand that you say what you say because you CARE, otherwise you wouldn't give half a lick about posting a comment or reading this blog.So I say to you, do stick around, and do have faith. We'll get there :)I'm actually just very happy that there are people like Josh and Mark and even SGO who are starting to show passion for this city. 10 years ago, Josh would have been on his own. Hell, he wouldn't even have "SGO" to argue with because most of us, SGO included, would not have care enough about this city to give half a damn :)And that is REAL progress, my friends :)
Thanks Bob, couldn't have said it better. I think what I'll do is just occasionally post a topic (ex: Homelessness) and let people have at it in the comments. My only concern is that the dialog will turn into San Jose Inside. Either way, definitely willing to give new ideas a shot. It's been a long week, sorry SGO for being abrasive.
Josh, Although that's true, I'm speaking more on retail point of view. No retail store is going to invest in setting up shop in the main areas of our downtown area if there isn't enough foot traffic. DTSJ is so food-centric to the point where people only flock to SPSM or random spots throughout downtown. A good model to follow is Downtown San Diego (Gaslamp district) , the best downtown layout in my opinion. With a great mix of clubs, bars, restaurants, and retail stores. There are several areas that can be improved in DTSJ. The open space in front of the SJ Rep next to the flower shop should have performances from dancers, aspiring musicians, etc) Bottom line, it needs a huge collaborative effort from the city and the citizens to revitalize DTSJ as a whole and not just in sections.
Actually, the flower shop is incredibly lame and could easily be a very cool bar or cafe.
I could care less for the for the flower shop, I was talking more about the open space in front of it that should be occupied by street performers
I know it's been mentioned before, but the key to increasing foot traffic downtown is density. 1 S. Market, The Carlysle, and other planned residential developments are key. By generating an influx of people to the area, services and retail will follow. The restaurant, bar/club, and art scenes are burgeoning, now is the time to start working on more traditional retail. Muji will definitely provide a starting point as it will be "destination" retail (people will venture to DTSJ just to patronize the store). This is the type of tenants that the city should be looking to attract.
Downtown Walnut Creek is hugely successful. And they are developing it further with a new Nordstrom and Niemen Marcus. It's embarrassing that a city that close, and 1/5 the size of SJ makes us look bad.
I think of Downtown Walnut Creek as more of a Valley Fair/Santana Row competitor, but have not been there for a long time.
It boils down to the fact that DTSJ has historically been essentially a business/government district...our major retail centers are spread out throughout the city vs. being concentrated in one location)...it isn't until the last couple of decades that a renewed emphasis has been placed on making an all-encompassing destination (residential, business, sports, entertainment, etc)
History lesson of vitality of Downtown San Jose: Start with 1977 timeline-mostly dead as a result of failed downtown development like Park Center Plaza. Nothing much was happening. It was mostly hispanic flare with Mexican shops and restaurants. There were few Pioneers like Camera 1 and few restaurants like Paulo's. Redevelopment went fast in the 80's. Downtown was still quiet and dead. By 1988, the major development effort was done and their was "Destination Downtown". People were celebrating the new downtown. DB Cooper, Paradise Beach club and Oasis were rockin'! There were some vitality, a flicker. 1989, Channel 11 had the news report "24hr downtown in San Jose" It still can be found at California Room at Martin L. King libary with a video set to play. The report said downtown was almost 24hr at that time of reporting. It was almost there. 1994, downtown was rockin' with the Shark's playoff, exhibits from Witney Museum of NY, Barbera Striesand, Pavorati's concerts and hot club scene at SoFa and San Jose Live. Don't forget about Kizmit cafe' and gallery on S. First st. Downtown was on the rise! 2000, the office space was nearly 0% and the streets were teaming with people going for a lunch rush. It was so bustling. Club Ecco were popular with club goers and so was the Agenda. Downtown was on fire! 2001, after the slow down and 9/11, downtown was a virtual ghost town! It took 4 years to recover somewhat. By 2008, downtown was vibrant and healthy again, only to get knock out by the worst recession in the history of the valley, even worst than 1930's in the valley's case. Fast forward to day, downtown is once again recovered and vibrant. The Shark's and the convention center, along with students bring strong vitality to downtown. Now, downtown has come a long way since even 1989 when Channel 11 said downtown was nearly 24/7. Now, downtown has 16,000 housing units, according to city planning, 4 new highrise housing and more retail like Ross, Safeway, Muji and others. There are nearly 250 restaurants downtown and many nightspots for clubs and live music. Downtown is actually sitting pretty. Whether downtown is going to get another highrise housing and retailers like Apple, that's a whole another matter or issue, which I'm skeptical.
I'd love to see the Walgreen's on Santa Clara get revamped with their new store concept. Yoshi's would be another great spot to have in DTSJ.
I have been to that Walgreens...did not fell like a Walgreens at all. If only we could get one downtown...
CVS or Walgreens or ANY decent pharmacy general/store. The Walgreens at 1st/Santa Clara is just awful. Poor management (1-2 register with ridiculously long lines) , deficient product selection and the fact that i's a homeless encampment all add up to make me NOT go to this place unless I have no other option.
Yes!Yoshi's and more live Jazz venues would really help the scene out!
I remember downtown was pretty happening (albeit rundown) just before the light rail went in. There were tons of small shops and people walking around. The destruction caused by creating light rail really killed downtown...as did the Redevelopment Agency's attempt to make downtown high-market.
Are you talking about the 1950's? Lightrail construction didn't get going until 1985. Downtown was long dead before then. We've had a viable and active downtown for the last 23 years with some ups and downs due to economy and changing tastes. The subject of downtown revitalization is very old news in San Jose's case.
Haha Im not that old. Im talking specifically about the late 80s when I would ride my bike downtown (I was still in grade school) and then 91-93 when I took the LR home everyday after middle school. I remember a big change somewhere in there. Definitely skid rowish but at least there was life. And again in the late 90s there was quite a scene in SoFA. So yes you are right...lots of ups and downs.I've mentioned it elsewhere but the single biggest problem downtown has is that a few groups/individuals own most of it.