Santana Row Announces Its Bid For 2012 Olympics

Lack Of “City” Status Won’t Be A Stumbling Block Says CEO

By announcing its intention of bringing the 2012 Summer Games to its regional shopping center, Santana Row has threatened to make downtown San Jose “redundant.”  Donald Wood, CEO of Federal Realty, the parent company of Santana Row, said that if their bid is successful against major cities such as Milan, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, San Diego and Tel Aviv, then downtown “should just fold up its tent.” 

“We have everything downtown has and less.”  He went on to explain, “What we don’t have is crime, graffiti, litter, public property or Mardi Gras.”

When asked about Santana Row’s 750 page submission, IOC president Jacques Rogge, of Belgium reacted with, “Who?”

“It doesn’t surprise me that they have never heard of Santana Row,” said Paul Krutko, Director of San Jose’s Office of Economic Development.  “You’re talking centuries of history when you mention the world-class cities that they’re competing against.  For God’s sake they’ve only been open for a year.”

Most point to the negatives that might prevent a smaller venue, such as a mall, from receiving a “hella-bad” or “tight” branding - key code words in the lexicon of the Olympic movement for gaining approval.

“They’re not a city!  They don’t have any sporting venues.  No major public transportation to and from the site.  And they only have one, unisex bathroom!!” announced a befuddled Milan representative.

But supporters say that’s just sour grapes and point to the wonderful selection of restaurants, retailers, and Hummers for sale. 

The 23 member team in charge of Santana Row’s Olympic bid are so confidant of their chances to host, they have spent millions of dollars coming up with a mascot.  “Platty” is designed in the likes of a platinum American Express card that they say will send economic and financial good will to malls across the globe.

“This is really as selfless an act as you can get,” said Chief Negotiator Stan Berliner.


  1. That’s right IV!

    Fiscalini should just roll up to a convenience store and play some Lotto.  The Santana Row bid is a delusional idea – up there with New Coke and the XFL.

  2. There’s one other thing downtown doesn’t have that Santana Row has – TRAFFIC!!!!!!! Horrendous traffic!  And when building the Disneyland look-alike, all the planning committees said traffic wouldn’t be an issue – HA!!!!  I live in the neighborhood and make every attempt to avoid that whole area – it’s a total joke!  I’m considering moving closer to downtown.

  3. I hope the committee didn’t forget to emphasize the A rating they have in the traffic department.  Getting off the freeway at Steven’s Creek has never been so enjoyable!

  4. I sincerely hope that this is some bad joke.  Unfortunately, this shows the type of people that NOW represent San Jose. 

    These people have no perspective of our cities past and now concept of a plan for the future other making as profit as possible.  It is a disgrace that individuals like this are allowed to make our city look incredibly foolish and naive – exactly what anyone who would promote this lunacy surely is.

    We used to be a City that was smarter, better and ahead of the game.  Now, after just eight years of the leadership of Ron Gonzalez and Joe Guerra; we’re a group of contract fixing, bribe-taking, power-hungry morons who act with all the savvy of someone who just fell of a banana boat!

    Nice job, people!  You make us PROUD!

    The Common Man

  5. How is that we can pin-point how,where and when a fire started in a 50 square mile Natural Forest and can’t figure out what happened in a one block section of a heavily populated urban area?

    I assume the insurance check cleared.

  6. Good thing we had Stan Berliner to show Susan Hammer what a “great deal” Santana Row would be for the city.  I guess it is just easier for most to not improve what we already have in the downtown but to start over with the glorified mall of Santana Row. That whole thing stinks though everyone seems to treat it like the second coming. Does SJ have no heart and soul – or is Santana Row it?

  7. As a European transplant now living in San Jose, I find the whole Santana Row experience to be abhorant.  Perhaps it is that Americans (the inventors of the shopping mall) prefer a sterile, soul-less environment to gather and consume.  Give me the unique sights and sounds (and sometimes unpleasant odors) of an old downtown.  Take notice of the detailed architecture that won’t be seen at a Banana Republic outlet. 

    To enjoy a leisurely stroll or to hold a conversation at a downtown cafe is one of life’s simple pleasures that you yanks often fail to appreciate.

    PS-Give those Sharks a big thank you for helping contribute to the downtown demise…..

  8. santana Row is too small: too two sided. It only consists of fancy shops and restaurants and maybe an imitation of downtown such as follows: inside/outside movie screens, a hotel and offices, also events.  Downtown, on the other hand, consists an arena, multiple upscale hotels, musuems (Tech, Museum of Art, Children Museum and etc.), convention center, light rail, Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Improve comedy, river park, new city hall, theaters such as The Rep and California Fox theaters, bunch of night clubs in the San Pedro and SoFa areas, alot of all kinds of events and finally, alot of office buildings and significant stock of housing of all types. The downtown is way bigger, more urban, more original and real than Santana Row, the faux downtown, to 3 mi.  west. The downtown has much more character, and it’s alot fun and more interesting than Santana Row. Santana Row is just boring, and there’s no competition between the downtown and Santana Row. The downtown wins!

  9. Santana Row in downtown would have been incredible.  How short sighted it was to put a fake downtown off of Highway 280!  Anyone who has half a brain knows that every great city has a vibrant downtown shopping district.  Now we never will just because we wanted to build next to an already existing mall! 

    Oh and just THINKING about driving down Stevens Creek and Winchester just makes me shudder.  Right about now….GRIDLOCK!

  10. Although I don’t usually pay much attention to the supernatural, I can’t look at downtown San Jose without thinking that somewhere up in the heavens, standing at the dead-end of a crazed, yet elaborate staircase, Sarah Winchester is smiling down at us, nodding with pleasure. “Isn’t that nice,” I hear her saying, “they borrowed my architectural vision for their downtown, erased the familiar, and turned what was once everywhere into…nowhere.”

  11. The happiest day of my life was not the day the war ended and I knew that I wouldn’t have to go to the invasion of Japan. It was the day in 1984 when I knew that I no longer had to go to Downtown San Jose every day!

    What drove me out? It was the lack of imagination of the renewal agency! They didn’t have a clue about the downtown and still don’t! Dutch knew. Frank knew. The politicians and lawyers who never had a dime at risk are the ones that lacked vision and imagination! They turned the town over to developers who had no local interest; they changed the rent structures so that small local shops could not find affordable space. But worst of all, they didn’t know that retail needs windows to the street. It needs openings that people can see as they walk by. Barry built a absolutely beautiful building there where I used to be, but all that you can see is the marble walls along the sidewalk. And the sidewalks are unwalkable because the agency planted trees to “beautify” the street and it narrowed the walkways!

    You get my drift. You can’t let the Rich Robinsons of the world dictate the shape of the city’s downtown. What you can do is re-create San Pedro Square as small mall! Why should Santana Row be the only place with a traffic jam? Traffic jams are good because it means that people are trying to get there! San Pedro has that parking lot that your dad and my dad and the rest of the West Santa Clara St. merchants created. You could even grow it down toward Leonard McKay’s old property now that the agency is no longer interested in buying it.

    Anyway, it is neat to joke about Santana Row’s success but it still lack the real charm of a downtown. It, Santana, is still somewhat sterile. Someone did a decent job in design and selling the space, they brought in national shops, but where is the fine men’s shops that the court goers frequent? I was there the other day and tried to get a real good pair of shoes, but no go. Town and Country in Palo Alto is a fine example ot “good.”

    First Street and Second Street can never be downtown retail again. The rancid transit made sure of that. The City Hall has taken East Santa Clara St. out of the play. The only place that I can see that is not covered with public offices and tall buildings that are filled with large legal firms is the San Pedro Square area. Okay?


  12. Great writing!  Where do you come up with these things I love them.  The worst thing that happened to the downtown since Valley Fair or whatever they call it now.  In a few decades from now people will blame Susan Hammer for this mess just as they used to blame Mitchell for not selling his property for a downtown Valley Fair.  Our former Mayor should have know better but with Berlinger whispering in her ear she went for it.

  13. Santana Row is sterile, contrived & fake…I would love to see some loft-type living spaces downtown…maybe mixed with some retail spots, art galleries, antique shops etc.  Downtown must come back, and thrive as it was when I was growing up there.



  15. A downtown, built in the suburbs, what’s next, a baseball stadium in Milpitas? Oh wait…..

    Downtown will come back only when people having vision and are willing to take risks invest in downtown….unfortunately those people are either hard to come by, or the ones that did take the risk feel abandoned by the city govt.  We need a new mayor that has downtown as a priority!!!!

  16. Would it help anyone to know that there wasn’t a parking space to be found in downtown San Jose this Saturday?  Well, except for San Pedro Square (gotta love that big parking garage).  Even there we had a wait 20 minutes to be seated for a late dinner.  It was Valentine’s Day…but still…

    After reading the Merc and the competition for high rise housing developments we could be headed somewhere positive….right?

  17. Dutch knew?  DUTCH knew?  Did I read Mr. Rosenthal’s comments correctly? 

    Dutch knew how to kill a downtown if that’s what Mr. R. meant.  It was under his watch that the big stores moved out to the suburban areas or closed altogether.

    Santana Row is contrived, fake, and can never provide a downtown experience.  And the people who shop there appreciate that, as they are assured they won’t encounter panhandlers and bus-stop types.  The only positive thing about Santana is that it’s not another enclosed mall crawling with mall rats.  If the orginal re-do of Valley Fair followed the Stanford center model, there probably would have been less of a need for a Santana experience nearby and that project could have ended up downtown where it belonged.  Let’s hope that the Fountain Alley project gets done right and provides something that will surpass Santana Row as a destination that is not only desirable but also more down to earth in its shopping and dining experience.

  18. Here’s a thought: Why SHOULD we “save” Downtown San Jose?
    1. Most San Joseans live miles from downtown.
    2. The regional shopping centers have worked well for years.
    3. Despite hundreds of millions in redevelopment subsidies downtown SJ still needs to suck up even more redevelopment money just to keep going year-to-year.
    4. Last time I was downtown I had to pay $1.00 for every 20 minutes just to park my car.
    5. Like most San Joseans I don’t live, work or own property in downtown San Jose.
    Let the marketplace decide. Actually, maybe it already has.

  19. Santana Row will never be a place you want to go to just hang out.  It’s a place for the up scale shoppers.  Not a place with culture, local artisans, small boutiques, etc.  Who has been to Portland?  There is a downtown with larger mall type stores and there is also a Northwest shopping area that hosts some larger stores but mostly mom and pop shops, art galleries, antique stores and restaurants with tables outside on the sidewalk.  Its a place people go to hang out and enjoy.  Why can’t this exist in the downtown?  A place that is unique and set apart from Santana Row, Valley Fair.  Luna

  20. Ben Lomond -
    Maybe you want to drive to your mall and have coffee inside of Nordstroms Cafe everyday, but I want culture!  Is it too much to want a shopping district downtown?  To want nice restaurants besides CheeseCake Factory?  I think maybe you are right, maybe people don’t care about culture, they just want to drive to the mall and get some cheesefries. 

    Oh and not owning property somewhere doesn’t mean you don’t have the desire to go down there…

  21. I’m in my mid twenties and love to go out.  I used to frequent downtown clubs, but, since I’ve been jumped twice there, I no longer do.  The once beautiful dowtown is now nothing but ghetto.  Just this last weekend a shooting broke out at a bar… And this shit is par for the course.  There are quite a few redeming factors, but until there is better residential living and safer bars, downtown will always be ghetto.  Santana Row is much more expensive, but I’ll take Rosie McCann’s over Mission Ale House 10 times out of 10.  And on any given day, there is plenty of local music to go around.  And to whoever said the downfall of downtown started with the Sharks is nuts…  that’s one fun safe thing to do downtown.  The only time I go out in downtown is after Shark’s games now, so you are way off.  There are plenty of people that bring their money downtown on game nights.  Just ask any local restauranteur how last year’s strike affected them.

  22. Quit bashing the Row! After work, and I work downtown, I head to Santana Row, it’s fresh, it’s clean, there’s music playing to lift my mood, and I FEEL SAFE!

    Quit comparing, bring something new to downtown so the entire area can be popular.  Lets go forward with new plans because the downtown with all the up and coming residential properties has great potential.  The HP, the Grand Prix, VTA, etc. has us on the map but let’s keep going.  yay, Whole Foods, its about time!