Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist: Downtown Retail (Non-Restaurant)

Okay, let me start off by saying I the love the restaurants in Downtown San Jose. The restaurant scene here pretty much exploded in 2011 (one day I'll post the stats for the number of new eateries that opened last year), and things are only going to get better in 2012. However, in order for Downtown to really succeed we need more diverse retail offerings besides just restaurants. My Wednesday wishlist for the week is to see more traditional retail and new services Downtown.

The photo below is of a new Foot & Body Massage place coming soon to 2nd Street. It's a start =). Thanks Arlene for the pic.


  1. It's true, downtown does have some great eateries (including the San Jose market and the more tucked-in Bijan's, Specialty's, etc)'s been said before but I'll say it again....downtown needs quality retail (or simply to give up on that and make it an all-eatery town).

    Fourth rate jewelry/pawnshops, pot dispensaries and now a massage place don't bolster SJ's lack of, how shall we put it, "wholesome-ness?"

  2. What a sad situation. I live and work downtown. I'm young and make an excellent salary. Where's my Banana Republic, or I'll be super crazy and expect an Apple store in this so-called capital of Silicon Valley? A massage place, really? Where is our city leadership on this? Why is retail on this website's wishlist, but not those in charge of building a better city?!

    1. I absolutely agree w/Jordan...I also live downtown SD

  3. Jordan, because this place is an auto oriented hell, worse than many parts of los angeles, where people adore wide freeways and lots and lots of free parking. The indoor shopping mall has begin to lose favor across the nation, but our soulless shopping box at valley fair has never been bigger. Sure, there's the disneyland-esque main street across the street for people to get their urban fix, but that's all walled off from nearby neighborhoods and is accessible only by car. Ok, that's more of a personal rant, but in all seriousness, the continued investment and expansion in Santana Row and Valley Fair means zero major downtown retail. Most retailers have a spot in Valley Fair and SR and will not open a store Downtown because VF/SR is less than 4 miles from downtown. If downtown got a significant number of new residents, and SJ resident's tastes shifted towards more urban places, then downtown may emerge as a retail destination.

  4. One thing I hate to hear is that Valley Fair, Santana Row, and other South Bay malls have made it impossible for downtown SJ to have quality, successful retail (non restaurant). Look at California cities with a similar urban makeup of SJ: San Diego and Sacramento. Mega-malls in the outskirts with successful downtown retail! It can be done in SJ! It would however take a strong vision at City Hall and the ability to think big (beyond a Mickey Mouse retail pavilion or urban market). How about a Milan-style Galleria in the San Pedro Square area? A flagship Frys Electronics store? A Barney's of London? It could be done. In the interim, it will be interesting to see how the ballpark will transform our downtown, especially the Diridon, W. San Carlos and San Pedro areas. I'm betting Cisco Field will be the catalyst for the kind of retail we yearn for downtown.

  5. Have to agree with Tony. In fact, San Diego has a huge mall in the middle of its Downtown!

  6. To be clear, I'm not interested in a mall. Every major city has some version of a Valley Fair or Santana Row. That doesn't excuse our sloppy, pathetic downtown. It's one big eyesore, pawn shop or dispensary after another. The city leadership is obviously ok with it. Would be nice to have some options for buying a sweater or some new sheets or an f'ing candle. Oh wait, we have Ross.