ULI San Francisco Has Hired a New Manager
Meet ULI SF’s newest manager, Teresa Breaux!
As the ULI San Francisco Gala, hosted in downtown San Francisco, approaches we celebrate downtowns rebounding. Leading up to the Gala, we have heard what large urban hubs like Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco are doing to spur a Downtown Rebound. But these major urban cores are not the only cities actively redefining life in downtown post-pandemic. ULI has partnered with cities throughout the Bay Area, including Dublin, St. Helena, Petaluma, and Mountain View to reimagine their downtowns. These smaller downtowns play a critical role in the Bay Area’s regional economic recovery and have their own unique set of challenges and opportunities that deserve highlighting.
ULI San Francisco has long been involved in complex questions about the built environment in both big and small cities throughout the Bay Area. Through our Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) Program, ULI SF provides strategic advice to public agencies and nonprofit organizations on complex land use and real estate development issues. The following are four Bay Area cities that have benefitted from TAPs in the last few years:
ULI San Francisco’s TAPs convened experts in design, land use, government, and development to leverage each city’s unique character and resources to revitalize their downtowns. Each TAP identified specific recommendations from reimagining St. Helena’s Main Street and ancillary streets, leveraging Mountain View’s strong retail and public realm spaces, prioritizing housing in Petaluma’s downtown, and by adding density and entertainment districts in Dublin. The TAP reports can be found here.
ULI San Francisco is committed to transformative impact in our cities. As our downtowns recover and rebound, we are reminded that our built environment is ever-changing. Read more about the exciting developments, from restaurants, to parks, to new festivals, happening in each of these cities, below. We look forward to connecting with you on September 21st at the ULI SF Gala!
In April 2018, ULI San Francisco’s TAP for Dublin outlined some of the key pillars of the Downtown Dublin Preferred Vision that was approved in 2019. The Downtown Dublin Preferred Vision, built off the 2018 Dublin TAP, provides a roadmap to improving the retail district of Downtown Dublin over the next 30-50 years, with three main principles: (1) establishing a town square park to become a social center, (2) establish a new street grid network, and (3) enhance the downtown character. Three new restaurants in downtown Dublin are at the forefront of the city’s reimagination of its downtown core:
With several noteworthy new openings, Downtown St. Helena’s culinary renaissance will gain further steam in the coming months. One of the most notable openings is Charlie’s Place, earmarked for a fall debut. Nestled in the heart of downtown, it will be a testament to the culinary expertise of Elliott Bell, an illustrious protégé of Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, one of only six California restaurants with three Michelin stars. Guests can look forward to an ever-adaptive menu that pays homage to the rhythms of the seasons, featuring dishes meticulously curated from local produce. To accentuate the dining experience, Charlie’s Place will feature a curated bar menu emphasizing handcrafted cocktails, select champagnes, and an array of Napa’s premier wines.
Another anticipated opening is the NO|MA House Café & Collective. More than a conventional café, NO|MA promises gourmet coffees, oven-fresh pastries, and a discerning selection of light bites. Beyond the culinary delights, the locale will house a retail collective spotlighting the finest handcrafted goods from regional artisans. With a vision to be the heart of community engagement, the establishment also intends to host events and workshops, serving as a hub for creatives.
Another exciting opening is Houtskool Dumplings, an avant-garde dumpling restaurant coming in early 2024. The restaurant will boast meticulously handcrafted dumplings, with each dish celebrating farm-fresh produce and ensuring every bite echoes responsibly sourced ingredients.
Supplementing this gastronomic trio is the impending launch of the JCB Tasting Lounge, a high-end wine bar nestled within the St. Helena Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The wine bar will offer a curated selection from the JCB Collection, an ensemble of wineries helmed by Jean-Charles Boisset. The JCB Tasting Lounge will undoubtedly establish itself as a must-visit for wine lovers.
Petaluma’s vibrant downtown continues to attract new businesses as it becomes an increasingly popular city for young families to move. The woman-owned Luma Bar & Eatery opened at the end of last year right on the waterfront and has already established a reputation for great food and drinks. The cuisine is mediterranean-inspired and sources much of its produce from local farms. Quiote Mexican Restaurant opened in April and has been similarly well received. Offering a unique selection of tacos, tostadas, enchiladas and more, Quiote is already being regarded as one of the best Mexican restaurants in all of Sonoma County. On the edge of downtown, Acme Burger creatively converted an old gas station into a family-friendly restaurant using locally sourced beef. Other new and upcoming bars and restaurants include The Kentucky, Kapu Bar, and Ethel’s Bagels, among others.
Beyond food & drink, Petaluma’s residents, through the Petaluma River Park Foundation, are working on bringing additional vibrancy to their city through the creation of Petaluma River Park. The non-profit has developed a plan to evolve 24 acres of underutilized land in the heart of Petaluma into an outdoor community gathering place for picnics, water activities, and art installations.
Like many smaller cities and big city neighborhoods, Mountain View closed its main downtown commercial corridor, Castro Street, off to car traffic during the pandemic and recently voted to make the change permanent. As a result, Castro Street – just steps away from Caltrain – is a magnet for walkable activity, including new restaurant openings, including Limon and Vida, small businesses such as Bloomsgiving, and creative activations such as the recent Art and Wine Festival.