What Would You Like to See in These Empty Storefronts?

Multiple locations in downtown Redwood City are empty. What businesses would you like to see there?

Many retail spaces in downtown Redwood City stand empty today. Near them you'll find restaurants and businesses such as Cafe La Tartine, Le Boulanger, Chipotle and the Century 20 Theatres. 

If you could choose, what kind of businesses would you like in these locations? Tell us in the comments.

Tami February 21, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I would love to see a Loving Hut restaurant there! They serve organic vegan food. It's a growing chain, and their Palo Alto location is always busy! I think Redwood City would benefit from having a different type of restaurant like this. Many people are interested in trying healthy vegetarian food, and Loving Hug does a great job of making it delicious and appealing.
Sarah H. February 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM
McWhorters! Or some other interesting retail -- cooking gadgets, gifts, specialty items, a _good_ shoe store, the list could go on, but we need more retail in downtown RWC.
Sarah February 21, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Definitely McWhorters! I tried to talk them into it but they think because of parking, they wouldn't be successful. I think there is a population in RWC who would make them successful. I live near the old McWhorters and would definitely trek to downtown to shop McWhorters if they were there. Every time I need to buy a card, I think McWhorters and then realize they are no longer there! And, of course, their old space is still empty. I can't believe the landlord will ever make up the money it is losing from having an empty storefront!
Tiki February 21, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Gap, Calif Pizza Kitchen, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Celias, Plutos ?
Denise Lewis February 21, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Gap, Banana Republic, Z Gallerie, Nine West, H&M
Owen Lucey February 21, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Would love to see a good brew pub.
Debbie Peterson February 21, 2012 at 06:45 PM
I agree with both Sarahs....Please get McWhorters back. Like Sarah, I live near the old McWhorters and miss it horribly! I would definitely go downtown to shop there. Also would like to see a Red Lobster here.
Dale Ah Tye February 21, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I think we need more boutique shops and a big bookstore. We need something to draw people to downtown who will stay to eat. Today, we really only have the theaters to draw people. It's certainly a thriving area compared to several years ago, but we need to do more to attract people to visit and get more things done on their visit. Look at Laurel Street in San Carlos as an example. Also, free parking will be nice. People are starting to consider San Carlos instead of Redwood City due to the free parking. Perhaps we should have the "first 2 hours" parking free.
La Vonne martin February 21, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I would love to see Penney's come back, I really miss it. It was where The Old Spaghetti Restaurant is now. Dale said that people are considering San Carlos because of the parking. I think the reason is the diversity of stores, like we used to have before they needed so many banks. We had many small shops that had almost everything, the city allowed them to be torn down for more retail.. I don't think the building the Chase bank is in is retail. This same thing has happened in several areas in town, leaving us with nothing. We had Montgomery Ward, Penneys and 4 or 5 blocks of shops that the town allowed to be destroyed. Mervyns came in and downtown went to ruin the city should look at what was working before and work with that. Traffic downtown is really messed up, Jefferson is a very bad design
TJ February 21, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I miss McWhorter's! What a shame that it is still sitting there empty--who are the property owners and why would you kick out a good tenant and now not have rent to collect? I missed them all Christmas and Valentine's season. We really don't have a good stationery type store any where in RWC. A California Pizza Kitchen and/or a vegetarian restaurant would be stellar as well.
Skyz February 21, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Some of my picks include: 1) Affordable healthy fare: custom salads, organic, local grown dishes, etc 2) Art center/gallery/studios 3) Arcade / pool hall 4) A cluster of kids boutiques down near Young's. 5) Apple/electronics store Would like to avoid most chain stores and large fast food franchises.
Deborah February 22, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I completely agree. We need boutique shops. The only thing to do downtown is go to the movies and eat at restaurants. Not that it is a bad thing but in San Carlos there are a lot of shops to wander through and make purchases if you are so inclined.
Sarah H. February 22, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I also think Woodside Plaza needs a good re-vamping. You can see my review on Yelp of Woodside Plaza for more thoughts on the issue. I also live near Woodside Plaza and with downtown traffic being what it is, I would love to see more interesting shops coming in to Woodside Plaza that might make people stick around a little longer instead of just running in to Lucky's or RiteAid and leaving. The owners/property managers of Woodside Plaza are really missing out on a huge number of people that live nearby, and would love to be able to avoid Sequoia Station, Mervyns Plaza and even parts of downtown. Woodside Plaza is certainly an under-utilized location, and with McWhorters being gone, it's just not the same any more.
Cynthia Guzman February 22, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Tiki February 22, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Agree with Sarah--Woodside Plaza needs some upgrades. I did email Trader Joe's suggesting they check out McWhorter's empty space but their reply was 'not right now', something like that. And I don't care for Rite-Aid or Luckys either.
Nick H February 22, 2012 at 09:50 PM
For bookstores, there's a Barnes and Noble in the Sequoia Station. In addition, I check out the used bookstore under the Courthouse Museum when it's open, and I have yet to visit Kepler's or Feldman's Independent book stores in Menlo. Plus there's the Library not a block away. Most of the foot traffic is around the block bordered by Middlefield, Main, Broadway and Jefferson. Unless there's a movie I'm seeing, or some event on the Square, or there's something playing at the Fox or the Little Fox, I personally don't have much reason to venture towards the West side of downtown. I haven't even gone into many of the shops along Broadway and El Camino because they're so far "away" from the center. What downtown needs is not to be saturated with more restaurants, chain or otherwise. What it needs is to let people know what already exists there, and perhaps to add a variety of entertainment destinations. For those open storefronts, I like Skyz' idea of a Pool Hall/Arcade, as well as an Art Center/Galleries (Though, to be fair, I still haven't checked out Alana's Cafe/The Main Gallery off of Middlefield and Main yet).
Lisa Hicks February 23, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Trader Joe's! Trader Joe's! Trader Joe's!
Nick H February 23, 2012 at 07:10 AM
I love Trader Joe's too, but their San Carlos location is barely over a mile from downtown. Opening downtown or into the smaller Woodside Plaza former McWhorter's location wouldn't make much sense unless they were upgrading to a bigger and better/more parking accessible building.


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