Byron Alvarez, managing partner for several downtown properties, said he and other property owners have brainstormed ways to attract a variety of tenants to their empty properties.
To attract the first two upscale restaurants, Alvarez said he offered “unbelievable terms” that included six months free rent and six months half-price rent at a dollar to $1.25 per square foot. He said he is also paying for the kitchen installations at the two sites that could cost as much as $100,000 each.
The first two restaurants to bite are a Korean barbecue and a gastro pub, both on 10th Street.
“We’re breaking the skids on the ice,” Alvarez said. “We know if we have high-end restaurants, we’ll have high-end boutiques.”
Construction has started on the first restaurant, E-Mo’s Korean Fusion BBQ at 31 10th St., and it is slated to open in June.
Owned and operated by sisters, Gina and Ji Yeong Pak, the restaurant will serve Korean food with a “modern flair,” Gina Pak said.
Fusion is a style of cooking that combines elements of different culinary traditions, and she said they hope the restaurant will attract a more diverse population to the downtown area.
“We did research on Tracy and there’s going to be a lot of new companies coming in and we felt having a different variety of restaurants on that row (is good) — that’s the vision,” she said. “People are excited to have a downtown full of eateries.”
A gastro pub slated to open at 49 10th St., named The Commons, is owned and operated by John Oh.
The Tracy native said he hopes that by September, he’ll be serving spirits, beer and food in the restaurant’s rustic setting accented with modern touches.
“Maybe because I’m from Tracy, it appealed to me to be downtown,” he said. “For me, it’s the right fit — it’s the right feel. It just works.”
According to Amie Mendes, economic development analyst for Tracy, the city also hopes to attract businesses with a downtown façade improvements project. The project will be funded through community development block grants, she said, but no start date has been revealed.
Mendes said she liked what she was seeing through the efforts of the property owners.
“Retail follows restaurants, so it’s a good kick-start to the downtown,” she said. “We think it’s a great start when you have that synergy all focused on 10th Street.”
Artist renderings of the pub and a sample menu are available on the restaurant website at www.thecommonstc.com.
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