Economy Bites Into San Jose Downtown Scene - NBC Bay Area

Economy Bites Into San Jose Downtown Scene

Slumping scene just part of a cycle, expert says



    Economy Bites Into San Jose Downtown Scene
    The streets of downtown San Jose surrounding San Pedro Square are not as busy as they once were, but the executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association says, stay tuned, the area is in growth mode.

    Instead of being known as a destination for nightlife, downtown San Jose is looking more like a sales lot for vacant restaurants and bars as the slumping economy takes a toll on the Silicon Valley's dining scene.

    One of the South Bay's best known restaurants is the latest victim of the recession.

    A.P. Stump's Chop House closed its doors on Friday for the final time because of the sour economy.

    A note on the store's doors also greeted visitors to their Web site:

    After much thought and deliberation, we have decided to close A.P. Stump's Restaurant. We are very proud of the impact A.P. Stump's has left on San Jose over the past 11 years. We will try to find other employment for all our dedicated staff. A heartfet thank you to all our customers that made A.P. Stump's San Jose's premier downtown dining spot. - A.P Stump's Family

    Known for its seafood and steak, A.P. Stump's opened its doors during the dotcom heyday and soon established itself as one of the hottest places to dine in downtown.

    The restaurant celebrated the successful years with a final party on July 10.

    The closing is just the latest casualty of the economy. Blake's Steakhouse and Bar went out of business and The Tied House Brewing Co. recently closed the resturant's doors in San Pedro Square and moved the microbrewery to a South First Street location. They plan to reopen the package brewery in August on South First Street.

    The closures indicate that many people are just not going out to eat as much as they had been during stronger days of the economy. But Scott Knies executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association, says that while it is sad to see such establishments shutting down, the city is not alone in its struggle.

    Knies says San Jose is going through a cycle that is being repeated across the country because of a global recession. Knies has seen a lot of ups and downs in his more than 20 years of economy-watching.

    "It is indeed a cycle," Knies said. "There's a global recession going on ... not just in downtown San Jose or San Jose in general, but across the board."

    Knies is optimistic that the city will re-emerge and once again become a place to provide entertainment for visitors and residents. While a handful of restaurants have closed, Knies points to places like Agave Viejo, which opened a couple months ago, as a sign that the area is not done with the restaurant and bar business.

    The empty A.P. Stump's building won't be vacant for long, Knies predicts. He has a glass-half-full attitude, "San Pedro Square going to be a strong location no matter what given the promixity to HP Pavilion and nearby locations."

    San Jose's downtown economy is expected to get a big boost from a planned redevelopment project that will remake the San Pedro Square area as a residential location with an urban market nearby. The project is expected to be awarded $24 million in state bond proceeds to put into building residential high-rises and townhomes that could be started as early as this fall.

    The city is in a growth mode, Knies says, and will take years to mature. "The making of a city takes generations."