According to the commentary quote:
"All reports concluded that re-imagining the retail mix and the quality of goods and services, improving infrastructure, programming public spaces, and better marketing were equally necessary. In short, La Villita is a historic treasure, but much is needed to bring it up to 21st century retail standards. We agree."So the problem seems to be that not enough people are coming in. It's walkable, it's quaint an such a nice place, so why aren't people coming in? The answer to that isn't because there's no coffee shop with wifi, it is because there's no people living there. Now I'm not saying destroy a few historic buildings and build a apartment complex, I'm saying that no body lives there and we're currently treating it like a suburban mall. So like every other suburban malls, it has a bunch of vacancies and eventually even the kiddos stop hanging out and the mall closes. You can point to the success of North Star and Wonderland, but those are the exceptions, not the rule.
Now some of you will say, hey, didn't you say La Villita Should be a model for the redevelopment for Hemisfair? And that I did, but it wasn't about how La Villita was being treated, it was how there's no cars there. There's a reason why I'm so against cars and that's because cars have more rights than you or I do when we're walking or riding our bicycles. I don't know how many times I've heard getting hit by a car and the driver just driving off and just getting a slap of the wrist. And if you don't believe me, Freakanomics did an episode on how to get away with murder, and it was about how you can kill with your car and get away with it.
When we built towns, we use to build them like La Villita, small places where everyone could get to where they were going by walking. We're now coming back to this original design as we rebuild Hemisfair and redevelop areas in the inner city. La Villita has a heads start in being walkable because the streets are too narrow for motor vehicles. As the development continues in Hemisfair, we'll see a bleeding effect from people calling Hemisfair home. Now we don't have to destroy anything in La Villita, but we should work on making housing opportunities available with in the historic neighborhood and around it especially in those parking craters.
47-1: A Google Satellite Map image of La villita and the surrounding area.