Should Fremont permit more Asian-Themed shopping centers

One recommendation from the city’s recent retail study is to encourage “Asian-oriented retail,” considering the predominance and growth of the Asian population in town.

The report noted that Warm Springs, which happens to have an Asian-themed shopping center, is the only one of Fremont’s historic shopping districts that isn’t under-performing. Another Asian-themed shopping center, with a Marina Foods, is going nearby in the old Navlet’s space.

So you’d think the city, always trolling for sales tax revenue, would be open to Asian-themed centers all over town, but that isn’t always the case. With the Globe project, for instance, the city wanted the development to have more of an international flavor, rather than solely an Asian one.

The developers have now asked to put a hotel in the planned Europa Village. Maybe it’ll have a Trappist bar inside.

Matt Artz


  1. I don’t care what the theme is as long as I can read the sign on the store front.

  2. Asian themed? Maybe someone should take another look around the city limits.

  3. Yeah – I think we should have more “Asian themed” stores – let’s throw in a few “Anglo-themed” stores, too while we’re at it – see what happens.

  4. Can race be discussed by city officials as a deciding factor during development meetings? I don’t want an influx of ethnic markets either, but at the same time I cant imagine that an issue arose when the BJ’s Brewery/Mervyn’s Anglo sh*t hole on Mowry was run through the development machine.

  5. Well gosh, why doesn’t the city just figure out what percentage of residents are from what ethnic/racial group, and then designate the appropriate percentage of retail space to that particular group?

    This is offensive.

  6. And another thing… 😉

    OK, so the Warm Springs area is the only “historic shopping area” that isn’t underperforming…

    Have they SEEN what is offered as far as retail in Niles, Irvington or Centerville?

    Well, it’s hard to perform financially with a few mom and pop stores here and there and a completely schizophrenic development plan.

    This isn’t rocket science, folks.

  7. In Niles, the mix of shops does not a booming retail area make, especially with the lack of daytime office workers having lunch. It’d take a lot of investment in new retail and office space to make the area take off. The town plaza should be beautiful, but will it draw people?

  8. “The town plaza should be beautiful, but will it draw people?”

    Not people with jobs…or homes.

  9. I’m a lifelong Niles resident and I fear that Marty is spot on about the town plaza.

    Niles wears its badge of “quirkiness” proudly, but quite frankly, that doesn’t always attract an element that is conducive to developing the types of businesses that people in the neighborhood would use and would create a more economically viable town.

    I just found it offensive that this report seemed to be using the township argument to promote more “Asian themed” shopping.

  10. Maybe the city should put a town plaza in each district, that way those without homes or jobs could have a choice of where to hang out. Although I understand the Centerville train station is very popular already and Irvington has its Five Corner groupies.

  11. “Quirkiness” is just another adjective that relates to random, without a plan, and which could be used to describe much of the Fremont development and growth.

    There is little in the way of “planning”. So we are relegated to “quirky”. Interestingly sometimes “quirky” works – as in the phrase “Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn.”

    But, this “quirky” thing that Niles has going on is no stroke of genius, and represents no plan, and is certainly not replicable to Fremont at large (even if you think it is working). . . . .

    we need to get out of the business of negotiating street corners based on a developer that wants to erect more tilt-ups on another street corner. . . . .and we need to get into the business of creating a vision, and then steering developers into that vision.

    Someone who possesses a long-term “feel” for the Fremont Districts – like, maybe residents therein, would be able to charcterize most of the districts and the design queues that one would want to reinforce. You make these design queues requisite for new developments within a specified area which begins to reinforce “character”.

    This same character begins to lean int the kinds of businesses you’d want to attract to a specific district. . . . .

    but, when all you’re interested in is blindly encouraging a developer to pour concrete onto a patch of dirt within your city limits – you end up with a bunch of individual developments disconnected by any rhyme or reason. . . . .

    It’s sort of the Al Davis version of City Management – it might have worked once, but right now we need something much, much smarter.

  12. Hey I know lets tear down old town niles and put the new A’s ballpark there? 1. it is close to bart. 2.Niles will finally be a place that generates money for the city instead of spending money on old burned out buildings.3.warblefly can walk to the ballpark and drink all the bear his gut can handle.

  13. I L I K E it !!

    With the Coyote lakes right next door maybe we could have our own version of the “McCovey Cove” – what do you think of “Wasserman Wash” or “Thamasbi Slough”

  14. Oddly enough, when we moved to Niles 30 years ago, there were actually places in town that a lot of people in the neighborhood used – a pharmacy, a natural foods store, a gas station, etc.

    Those closed up and were replaced by antique/old stuff stores.

    Fremont seems to go back and forth between “let’s have a downtown” and “let’s develop the historic districts” all the while building cookie cutter housing and shopping developments near the city limits. And the new housing that goes into Centerville and Irvington is low income (Maple St. and where Tri-City used to be).

  15. Jen, I attended the Irvington “neighborhood meeting” put on this past Saturday by Fribie Planning Co. to present their new Irvington development, Central Park South. It was inconveniently held in Ardenwood.
    It will literally be a mini-Ardenwood, row-upon-row of three story individual townhouses just 22′ wide smashed onto 34’x 32.5’lots. Oh, but wait, the architecture is “Craftsman” to replicate the early Irvington house style!
    It’s being touted as a transit-oriented development even though there isn’t any transit other than it sits next to the realigned UPRR line and the still-to-find-the-funding BART track.
    It is will be ripe for inner-city slum status in five years once it is built.

  16. Makes me think of that old song about “boxes made of ticky tacky that look all the same”…

    And I don’t buy the line about “affordable housing”. The homes built on the corner of Rock Ave. and Niles Blvd. are going for over $500K. Especially in today’s market, you can find a single family home for the price of those townhomes.

    Sometimes I think these developers just throw the cause du jour, i.e. “transit oriented” into the description of their projects and the city council and planning commission just gobble it up.

  17. Today’s Argus (10/21/08) features a major story about the 148th anniversary of the Great Hayward Fault Earthquake of 1868. USGS seismologist say the next one will occur sooner rather than later.

    Central Park South will slice right through the fault line. No homes will sit directly on top of it, which would not be permitted, but the fact the development straddles it shows little thought for what could happen, especially since the homes are designed to be three-stories tall and have a very narrow footprint.

    Like I said in an earlier post, bring the transit to the community we already have rather than adding more people to transit that doesn’t even exist.

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