What Should Go Here: Gottschalks Building

What should fill this current eye sore?

Since Gottschalks closed a few years back, downtown Watsonville has been without that big, anchor retailer that draws shoppers to the city center.

Many smaller storefronts have become vacant in recent years as economical woes continue.

But there are always whispers about what should or might or could fill the cavernous building. Even over coffee on Tuesday at , the city Economic Development Director Kurt Overmeyer elluded to possibilities for the old store.

“There’s active interest and it’s getting increasingly close to a deal," said Overmeyer, who remained mum on any possible tenant.

The earliest anything would happen is next spring—the space needs to be reconfigured, the parking lot resurfaced and other things—so let's turn it over to you, Patch readers. What would you like to see go in that spot? What does Watsonville absolutely need that they don't currently have? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Born&raised March 07, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Allow a few clothing stores to fill the space. Watsonville needs affordable name brand clothing stores such as Pac Sun, Charlotte Russe or Forever 21 or Nine and Co.Why go to Capitola Gilroy or Salinas to shop keep the revenue in the city. : )
jessica hernandez March 07, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I would love to see eather a kholes, Burlington coat factory, or a Walmart.
Martin Enrique Garcia March 07, 2012 at 03:48 PM
A Kohl's or Forever 21 would be awesome. It would have to be a store capable of drawing enough draw and revenue to pay the rent without massive subsidy so that would eliminate smaller, more specialized venues like gap or something like that. But really, I don't think it's too much to ask for to have one place in town to buy levis or slacks and not wrangler's or the target brand. In the meantime, I think that it would be an excellent idea to use the window fronts. Gottschalks has awesome windows that should local artists should be allowed to use to enliven the downtown area a little more. Just a thought
Merry T March 07, 2012 at 04:19 PM
I thionk JCP would be great JC Pennys, better quality and variety than Target, but not as nice as a Macy;s or as expensive.
Steve Bankhead March 07, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Forever 21 briefly considered a Watsonville site, but last month selected a downtown Santa Cruz location in the vacant Borders Book Store building. That makes it a very unlikely tenant for the Gottschalk's building. I like the idea of JC Penny if the company is willing, since it has a long downtown tradition which ended when its Main/West Lake branch closed years ago. Of course there's always the idea of Councilman Martinez of bringing an Indian casino downtown. Perhaps the city manager can explore that possibility with local Ohlones. From Gottschalk's to got slots?
David H. Perez March 07, 2012 at 04:46 PM
I would love to see a Trader Joe's go in there. That would mean more money I would spend in Watsonville and less in Capitola!
carol turley March 07, 2012 at 04:57 PM
The building is not an eye sore. It is a beautiful building and even though it has been vacant for awhile, the owner keeps it up nicely.
Cathy P. March 07, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I agree that JC Pennys has better quality and variety than Target; JCP is a great choice for the old Gottschalk's building. I'd also vote for Burlington Coat Factory since the closest one is in Gilroy. I like Home Goods or Marshall's too. A nice "big box" bookstore would also add a little class to downtown. Martin Garcia's idea about decorating the store front windows made me think of the Macy's windows in SF at Christmas time. Anyone remember those? What a great draw that would be, especially if we got Christmas in the Plaza back the way it used to be again.
Monica Lewis March 07, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Chuck e cheese plenty of parking for it too (parking garage next door)
Rebecca Tait March 07, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I believe an Indian casino would only benefit Indians. It would be great if it would create jobs and income.
Rebecca Tait March 07, 2012 at 05:51 PM
A Trader Joes would be great. Look what they did in Downtown Monterey.
wetlandswatchdog March 07, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I like the idea of using the windows for local art. Tell the city council your idea. they need to hear from us.
Cathy P. March 07, 2012 at 06:03 PM
"From Gottschalk's to got slots?" ------------------------------------------------------------ Steve, don't quit your day job OK? ROFL!!!
jana meares March 07, 2012 at 06:15 PM
a decent music venue with dancing!! Maybe divided for kids under 18 so the youth could have a place to go also. LOCAL ARTIST/ART GALLERY.
William J. Hansen March 07, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Thanks to the community for your comments!
David H. Perez March 07, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Anybody ever take a stroll through downtown Half Moon Bay? Like Watsonville, there are lots of nice old buildings. They have beautiful art and furniture galleries, a nice book store and great places to eat. This is also the venue for the Pumpkin Festival every year, just like Watsonville has the Strawberry Festival. It's time we bring a little class to Watsonville, and I would venture to bet that our downtown area could be even more grand than Half Moon Bay. That, however, would require that we get rid of much of the current leadership on the City Council that wants to keep Watsonville a poor dumbed-down community.
Terry Hungerford March 07, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Once again Bankhead has a great idea! I LOVE IT! Let' s hope somebody nominates Steve for the new vacant seat on city council, so he could vote along-side Martinez...I would ,but live outside the city limits... Terry Hungerford
Michael Gaither March 07, 2012 at 10:41 PM
I would love to see a franchise that could be supported by our local economy take up residence there. Someone mentioned TJ Max in an earlier post. Trader Joe's would be awesome, but I don't know if their formula works, since there are already two stores in Santa Cruz County. Would also be cool to take a multi-decade step back and have several stores take up residence under the same heading of one store, if that's still possible. (Any locals remember Camera World, etc., which were a part of Ford's?) I do hope a franchise can make the location work. It's such a great building. And I hope it doesn't end up split into multiple spaces for vendors. That seems to keep the lights on at the old JC Penny and Dick Bruhn locations, but, well, we already have that. Also really like the idea of utilizing the window spaces for local artwork.
Jennifer Squires March 07, 2012 at 10:59 PM
I think it's great that so many people are sharing their opinions here. I hope that everyone will support whatever business goes into that space with as much gusto!
Terry Hungerford March 08, 2012 at 05:14 AM
After reading so many suggestions that are good & bad, it is after all the owner Mr, Hansen's decision. He did build it as well as the whole corner after the '89 Quake took it all down, trying to get this town going again. & now what's he got? "BONEY FINGERS". But yea, I do like a few Ideas that can be consolidated : 1. "THE INDIAN CASINO" (Steve Bankhead's great idea) 2."LIVE MUSIC VENUE" (Sectioned-off for adults & teens) (Jana Meares idea) THIS HUGE BUILDING CAN BE BOTH OF THESE & PLENTY OF PARKING TOO!! THIS WILL PUT WATSONVILLE BACK ON THE MAP & $$$$$ BACK IN OUR TOWN !
Terry Hungerford March 08, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Ariel Benson March 08, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I know this won't bring in the revenue our town needs, but what fun to have a roller rink downstairs with family amusement center upstairs. We could get a local roller derby league going on and that would, eventually, help with other revitalization projects. Santa Cruz Derby Girls has been a major source of revenue for the City of Santa Cruz on the nights their bouts take place, which are monthly February-October. Speaking of which, the next one takes place next Saturday, March 17th. They're playing the Richmond WreckingBelles, part of archrival league Bay Area Derby Girls.
Randy C. March 08, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I would like to see if Fry's Electronics come into this building. It would give the store a needed presence on the Central Coast and be great for sales tax revenue for the city. Lets beat Monterey County or Gilroy to the punch and draw some shoppers that otherwise need to trek over the hill for their needs. This store could be a viable hub for other retailers to locate in this section of town.
Cathy P. March 08, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Randy C., now that's somewhere I'd even shop. Excellent suggestion.
Rebecca Tait March 08, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I agree with Randy C. too. Fry's Electronics great idea!
Butch Cole March 09, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Almost ANYTHING but Walmart!!!!! Read up on what happens to other businesses when walmart comes to town....we need jobs......full time, benefitted jobs, jobs that pay a decent wage.....it ain't happening with walmart!
Terry Hungerford March 09, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Right on Carol!
Watzon McWats March 27, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Nothing overly cheap or "discount" oriented. We have WAY too many of those types of stores downtown. They're great and all, but too many and you bring the whole area down. I'd like to see something like a Pacific Wave, O'neills, REI, Outdoor World, Gap, Bed Bath, etc.
Cathy April 05, 2012 at 09:57 PM
First choice JC Penneys Second choice Kohls Third choice Chuck E. Cheese
Metric March 20, 2013 at 07:28 PM
As long as there are no city subsidies for national retailers trying to fill the space.


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