What Should Go Here: Vacant Lot

How should this plot of land on West Beach Street be filled?

This empty lot next to the on West Beach Street is full of crab grass and weeds, but it's zoned commercial and could be a transformed into any number of things.

The spot is west of Highway 1, surrounded by ag land and industrial areas. There's been talk that the lot would be good for a fast food joint, since it has easy access to the highway via Riverside Drive and Lee Road.

Last week, .

So let your creative juices flow on this spot too. What would you like to see go in next to the highway? What does Watsonville absolutely need that they don't currently have? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Nancy Nazario March 14, 2012 at 02:33 PM
We've been asking for years and years, it sure would be nice to have a In n'Out Burger in town.
David H. Perez March 14, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Since this lot is next to a hotel and within eyeshot of travelers on the freeway, I would like to see a real restaurant here that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. My suggestion is Black Bear Diner (and I don't think we have one of those in Santa Cruz County, do we?). Watsonville needs to improve its image, and it doesn't need any more unhealthy fast food joints. Also, visitors to the Red Roof Inn as well as passers-by might want more choices than just burgers and fries.
Cathy P. March 14, 2012 at 03:04 PM
An In-N-Out burger is a popular choice but since it's near the motel, I'd vote for a sit down, full service-type restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch & dinner. Not a Denny's necessarily, but something like that, a Black Bear Diner for example.
Cathy P. March 14, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I see we are on the same wave length (I was writing as you were posting). LOL
*MAN UNITED* March 14, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Jim Jennings March 14, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Black Bear Diner is an excellent suggestion. There is one in Fernley, Nevada, close to where I live, and it puts out top rate food and service, There is another one in Reno. I don't think Watsonville needs another fast food joint. A high quality restaurant, they do need. Watsonville is/was my home town. Jim in Fallon Nevada.
Stephanie March 14, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Mary Helen Carpenter March 14, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I think any type of American restaurant would be just great--seems they are closing too fast here.
Denise Murphy March 14, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I like the idea of a courtyard surrounded by locally owned cafes and a community garden area. Community garden plots could be available to folks who live in condo's or apartments and need garden space or for local elementary or high school projects.
Patricia March 14, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Black Bear Diner is a great idea! They have one in Salinas and one in Gilroy. They serve good food and would be a boon to the community. The community gardens much like the Victory Gardens of yesteryear, would be good but then you have to hire someone to manage and that would create need for a board and some red tape. People in Watsonville would like a good old steak house of which we had several at one time. We have some great garden products grown here in the area and why couldn't those farms contract to sell their products to local restaurants? I'm amazed at how many food products are being imported from China and we have no control over their safety standards while our own farmers are so beleagured by all the harrassment from the environmentalists.
Betty J Burtis March 14, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Would lover to see Red Lobster return and yes, Black Bear Diner. Maybe Marie Calllender would consider this busy spot....Beatrice
Butch Cole March 14, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Was eating in a Black Bear Diner awhile back thinking of how nice it would be to have one in Watsonville. ANYTHING, ANYTHING but Walmart!
Emilio Martinez March 14, 2012 at 11:47 PM
All Great Ideas...but, and maybe I am wrong, where is the property owner's idea? Does he/she want to sell the property or do they want to purchase a Black Bear franchise? Not wanting to be picky but has anybody looked into what a Black Bear franchise costs? if you have a hundred thousand dollars hanging around, they may return your call.
James E Hanzlik, Jr. March 14, 2012 at 11:49 PM
I totally agree with this list and order in which I would like them.
Lorena March 15, 2012 at 12:12 AM
An in an out would be nice! I enjoy the thought of not having to drive out of town just to enjoy a good hamburger! And if not a dinner would be ok to!
Morgan Martinez March 15, 2012 at 12:19 AM
The facts for Black Bear: Total Start-Up costs: $542,000–$1,351,700 Franchise fee: $40,000 Royalty: 4.5 percent Currently emphasizing the following areas for development: Arizona Colorado Idaho Nevada Washington Southern California
Cathy P. March 15, 2012 at 01:34 AM
This article and comments is a "Tell us what you think" exercise, it's not meant to tell any property owner what to do. Lighten up, Councilman (& daughter), residents have a right to voice their opinions and wishes. We were asked after all. ;D
David H. Perez March 15, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Lorena - You obviously have never been to the Wooden Nickel at Freedom and Green Valley. Now that's a good hamburger, and you don't have to leave town at all! In and Out is just another fast food restaurant, though I agree they are slightly better than most of the other fast food hamburger joints.
David H. Perez March 15, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Oh my, Mr. and Ms Martinez are such naysayers! Aren't we trying to shoot high and give Watsonville a financial shot in the arm? You don't think people who are on their way to Laguna Seca or Pebble Beach might want to stop at Black Bear for one of their fabulous breakfasts, or a nice lunch with good service? They might even discover that Watsonville is more than just a poor migrant gang-infested farming community. Even if Morgan's figures are accurate, it sounds like it would be a good investment.
emilio martinez March 15, 2012 at 03:32 AM
With all due respect to Mr. and Mrs. Perez us "naysayers" are asking a simple question...it takes a private investor(s) to open a business so why haven't they invested in Watsonville? The fact that the Gotthchalks building has sat empty for over a year speaks volumes. And while the Civic Plaza has over approx. 4,000 sq. ft. of empty space, Fox Shox moves their H.Q. to Scotts' Valley? The question is not what to do with privately owned property, but rather how are we going to attract businesses to Watsonville....maybe prospective city council members can answer that million dollar question.
Patricia March 15, 2012 at 07:08 AM
The question is not what to do with privately owned property, but rather how are we going to attract businesses to Watsonville....maybe prospective city council members can answer that million dollar question. Don't hold your breath waiting for the city council members minus 2 to answer anything. They are not known for their straight and honest answers!
David H. Perez March 15, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Emilio and Patricia both make good points. As far as attracting new business and improving Watsonville's image, part of the impasse lies in the mindset among the City Council majority and their up and coming trainees. If Watsonville becomes too affluent and we attract too much money and intelligence to this town, they might lose their power. Let's hope we get some new blood on the City Council this November - that is, if the "5" actually allow us to vote this time.
Watzon McWats March 27, 2012 at 09:09 PM
In n Out, Black Bear Diner, Mels Diner, IHOP. I'd really prefer an In n Out though, for the reason that it alone would draw patrons from other areas in our county. A diner would be great, but I can't see people making a dedicated trip for one.
*MAN UNITED* April 12, 2012 at 09:08 PM
....FYI Salinas just opened a "Famous Dave's BBQ".... Next they are opening a "BJ's Restaurant/Brewhouse" Then a "Five Guys Burger"..... WHY CAN'T WATSONVILLE LEARN FROM IT'S NEIGHBORS!?!?!
David H. Perez April 12, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I agree Juan!
ExResident April 12, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Wishful thinking if anyone thinks things will ever change in Watsonvile. Get out while you can.
Cathy P. April 12, 2012 at 10:28 PM
@ExResident: you obviously don't live here anymore so why leave such negative comments? Personally, I really don't care to read them...
Cathy P. April 12, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Oh come on Watzon, you don't think people from Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Aptos wouldn't make a special trip for a Black Bear Diner? They come for Target now (until the Capitola one opens). I think you'd be surprised...


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