Friday, March 16, 2012

San Pedro Square Market Updates

I have always been bullish on The San Pedro Square Market, even after numerous delays and the loss of a few promising tenants. However, I'm going to make a really bold statement and say not only will the Market be a tremendous success... but it will be the inflection point that will change people's negative perceptions of Downtown San Jose and will likely be one of the most successful markets of it's kind in the US.

Some people are going to cringe when I say this, but it does have a lot of similarities to Santana Row. The attention to detail in the Market is impeccable, from the hummingbirds hanging from the ceiling to the flower selection in the courtyard. It has great open-air dining options, including the incredible courtyard with the Peralta Adobe. There is live music and entertainment. And, it is being progressively elaborated. Santana Row wasn't built in a day, in fact it is still being built. With SR, I always enjoyed going there and discovering what is coming next. There were always new surprises to discover, and now the same is happening with the Market.

Before I get into the updates, let me tell you where The Market and Santana Row are different. 1.) Instead of national anchors and restaurants, every tenant in The Market is a local small business where the owners are incredibly passionate about what they do and are striving to deliver the best possible product possible. SR venues go for consistency, the Market is going for excellence and innovation (can give you examples of innovative concepts from every food vendor). 2.) Price. The Market has the best value proposition imaginable for dinner. Pay "lunch" prices all day long, mix and match foods from vendors, no reservations needed, and it's both kid and adult friendly (three bars by summer).  3.) History. There is actual historical value in the venue itself. It is more than retail in a box. The Market will actually help preserve some San Jose history and make it more accessible to the public.

Okay, now for the good stuff.  Here are the updates since the last time I posted about the Market:

  • On a Roll is now open right at the front of the Market. They serve Vietnamese sandwiches, noodle plates, spring rolls, tofu, and several other items. I've tried it already... the noodle plate with the pork is fantastic. Great addition!
  • New seating has been added outside the Market and adjacent to On a Roll.
  • The Crepe place (Crepe-Paris) is about 2 weeks away from opening. They'll have both savory and sweet crepes and be right between Vino Vino and On a Roll.  Also, they will likely stay open late to provide food for the post 10pm bar crowd.
  • A new awning has been added in the courtyard, as well as some new festoon lighting.
  • A new sign has been added for Blush, which also looks like it's getting a roll-up door on the side of the building.
  • Building #2 (Lusardi) is 4-6 weeks away from opening. Unlike Building #1 (El Dorado), it's likely going to open mostly full with the following vendors:
    • Treatbot Karaoke Ice Cream Truck
    • Veggiebox - fresh, local veggies and prepared dishes
    • Blush - Sushi, oysters, and a really unique bar
    • Showroom - Boutique apparel, including I<3SJ shirts
    • Ay Dios Mio - Mexican  
    • The Little Cheese Shop - Cheese, Charcuterie, and Gourmet Foods
    • San Pedro Square Seafood
  • Loteria Taco Bar will be coming to the original building later this year.
  • New Saturday San Pedro Farmers Market which will wrap around the Market and kick off April 7th!








27 comments:

  1. It's ok. Go there often for lunch. Not fantastic... I don't get the comparison to Santana Row.

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    1. It's funny what a difference a month makes. Tonight with SJMADE, SJEATS, several new vendors, and great weather the Market was completely packed inside and out. I heard 3 different people today say "This is like Santana Row."

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  2. I am an owner in one of the high rises next to the market and want it to be successful for various reasons. I am fearful that the delays in opening new tenants and the slowness of the project are more harmful to the project. With the Sharks season in full swing, the more people that see it in it's current state, the worse of it will be. They need to get it together quickly. And I also agree, it will never be Santana Row...not big enough, no where near the level of tenants there. NIce dream for downtown but not it.

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    1. It will never be as large as Santana Row physically, but I think it could have the same amount of traffic per square foot, and probably within a year if they stay at this pace.

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  3. I had this vision in my mind that it would be something like Pike Place Market in Seattle. I think that's why I am so underwhelmed. It's a place to eat and hang out...nothing more/nothing less. Am I missing something? And come on...it's not really kid friendly, anyone with kids knows that. No offense intended to those that don't :)

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    1. I completely agree.And that is what it was compared to before construction began. The farmers market products is something you would see everytday at Pikes. Not just weekend. The bar is cool but it sounds like a typical San Jose spot. Blush bar? at an open market? I don't get it. Pikes Place is unique, this place seems forced, trying too hard. And in the process its taking way too long and making it look like The old downtown Pavilion waiting to happen.

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    2. I was expecting this to be more along the lines of the Milwaukee Public Market - the comparison to Pikes etc were just too good to be true and we've seen enough hype in dtsj for these kinds of things. But whats disappointing is that its not even going to be close to the Milwaukee Public Market...

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    3. There were lots of kids around tonight and several people brought their dogs around as well. Also they banned smoking in most of the courtyard.

      With Veggiebox and the flower shop already open, and a Cheese Shop & Butcher coming soon, the Lusardi building is looking more and more like a traditional public Market. The El Dorado building has 7 eateries in it now and is packed for lunch and dinner every single day.

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  4. ^^^ I'm with you guys - B2 is fantastic, and the pizza place is pretty good, but everything else is pretty average, imo. I do want it to succeed, I want downtown to succeed, but like San Jose in general - it's just not quite a destination yet.

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  5. I went to Chelsea Market in New York and I was very impressed. I was really hoping San Pedro Square Market could measure up to it but with the slow progress I don't know...it just still seems so "unfinished". I don't know what it is but something is missing compared to other established successful public markets.

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  6. i really appreciate all the reporting youve done on this project. and i feel sorry that you sometimes get put in the position to defend it so much. on the other hand, youre inviting ire when you suggest this will be one of the most successful markets in the country. have you been to the ferry building on a saturday morning? or pike place or the grand central market? those markets are jam-packed. and their selection of foods is top notch. san pedro is years away from that. and thats actually ok, but if the market is gonna talk big, then they gotta have the sh!t to back it up. so far this project has just puttered along. personally, id rather have waited a few months and have a lot mor eof it open at once. as for comparisons to santana row, we all know sr is pretty much disneyland--totally fabricated and a complete illusion, BUT disneyland is very good at what it does, and so is santana row. i think all sj projects could learn a thing or two from santana row.
    finally, why no bakery??

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    1. I've definitely made some bold statements, but I'm pretty confident that by summer 2013 this will be the place to be in Downtown San Jose. I have been to Pike's place and the Ferry building (not grand central), really like them both. The San Pedro Square Market may never get to that scale, but I think it will be a quality experience with a stronger focus on food and entertainment.

      Also remember that just a few months ago commentors were saying that it was game over for the Market, the project was a huge failure and it would be gone in a few months. Now, go there any weekend day and it's filled with people. Give this project some time and hold on to your optimism... I think you'll like where this project is going to go.

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    2. I have to agree with Josh on this one. While I have yet to visit the market, in studying more established markets across the country, it took years (in some cases decades) for some to get fully established (see Pikes Place). I think its premature to expect San Pedro Square Market to become the next Ferry Building overnight. Lets hold judgement for a few years and wait for the new housing and ballpark to come on line.
      Now, based on that picture of the outdoor space, I was hoping for something more akin to the tequila bar at SR. perhaps in the future they could add more colorful pottery landscaping and vegetation.

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  7. Where do I find the "Realistic San Jose Blog"?

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    1. C'mon, that's not fair. Joshua does a great job. Actually a "realistic" San Jose blog is exactly what we don't need. Too many people in this town are too quick to crap on bold ideas. I hope to God that San Pedro takes off. I'm slightly skeptical at this point, but I'm also happy to be proven wrong.

      Joshua, are there any plans for some sort of tech kiosk? It'd be nice to have more of a tech component.

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    2. There were plans for a kiosk for electric bike rentals (not related to San Jose's new bike-sharing program that will launch later this year). The idea is that you could hop on an ebike and ride around downtown for a bit and then return it later in the day.

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  8. These type of projects don't blossom overnight. Santa Row had nay naysayers before it developed into a hugely successful commercial venture. SPSM does not intended to emulate SR; rather, the Market is the antitheses of Santa Row -- casual, comfortable, & local. SPSM will be a functional market, come as you are, without the pretentious flair of SR.

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  9. Was looking at images of the Milwaukee Public Market: very nice! I believe the San Pedro Square Market will one day have a building built at the NE corner of Terrains and W St. John Streets. Perhaps it could be designed in the likes of the Milwaukee Public Market: concrete flooring, vaulted industrial ceilings with exposed steel and duct work. Again, lets all hold off final judgement on our market until its fully built out/established.

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    1. That's right, currently the Market is about 33% open, not including this new building Tony is mentioning that will probably come in 2014 or 2015. The El Dorado building still has 2 more tenants coming soon, plus the flagship space on the corner where B2 currently is. The Lusardi building hasn't even opened yet (Treatbot, Veggiebox, Blush, Showroom, etc). Also, likely they'll have a kiosk or two outside when the weather improves.

      I would say the next milestone for "revised judgement" would be on April 7th with the new farmer's market, followed by this summer when most of the vendors are open, then finally summer 2013 after the word has fully gotten out. By then, hopefully they'll be planning out the expansion building in the History San Jose parking lot.

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    2. Josh,
      When you have time, Google image the Mercado del Puerto in Uruguay. An awesome public market, especially the massive charcoal grill of the Palenque Restaurant. Perhaps this should be the template for the future building of our market.

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  10. Does anyone writing this blog or commenting even live downtown? Just curious, since some of the perceptions are so wildly favorable of almost everything. For that matter, does the mayor even live, eat, hang out downtown?

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  11. I live downtown. I think San Pedro Market is awesome, but am awaiting a year or two before I can confidently say "victory." It's potential downside resides, I think, in precisely what Joshua believes makes it unique-local businesses. Their future in this economy is pretty perilous and, second, local business is not always attractive business (I'm thinking of that transit-station type of "gift shop" horror, for instance, which does not bode well for SPSquare).

    I love downtown and think it's got all the potential in the world (charming architecture, wide pedestrian thoroughfares, large, empty storefronts). However, I don't see downtown SJ ever happening until a) higher-end corporate retail steps in and b) the city takes focused, aggressive measures to tackle the sordid homelessness/vagrancy problem.

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    1. Agree with anon. I also feel this market, and downtown retail in general, won't truly take off until some corporate retail takes a chance/takes root in DSJ (Apple Store anyone?). Perhaps the ballpark and Diridon Transit Center will be the catalyst for this to finally happen
      last thought on the Market: a quick look at Yelp shows the market receiving 4.5 stars out of 5 (41 reviews) and some of the individual businesses receiving 5 stars (between 40-70 reviews). Some of the lower star reviews are simply because the market isn't finished yet. While Yelp obviously doesn't tell the complete story, neither do some of the negative posts on this thread. Have a great rainy day all!

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    2. I remember someone that worked at one of the bars in San Pedro Square telling me that at one point Apple was looking at putting an Apple store in San Pedro Square. Dont know what happened.

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  12. Checking into this blog, a year later.

    It is now Summer of 2013, and I think all of us can now say with confident that Josh has been proven correct :)

    San Pedro Square Market has been pretty much a success and this part of Downtown SJ is now one of the best places, not just in San Jose, but in the entire South Bay.

    Not many naysayers these days, I suppose. But I'm pretty sure that all of us are happy that this place did extremely well. I'm sure even the naysayers were glad they were wrong :)

    I'm writing all this while enjoying some ice cream outside in SPSM's courtyard, doing my people-watching without looking too creepy. There's a really cute hipster-ish girl to the right of my table...

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