The new additions, combined with the state of California officially reopening on June 15, is apparently drawing record crowds.
“Everything is benchmarked against a unique year,” said Ham, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic that emerged mid-March last year. “We have had a renaissance year-after-year for the last seven years in Downtown, each year growing significantly. The growth last year was significant, even during the pandemic because our restaurants were able to pivot and then operated on the streets. Through those activities, the businesses saw significant activity. Starting in November and December of last year, as we anticipated, we started to see growth as we came out of the pandemic. As people felt comfortable going out and as more individuals had disposable income, we saw that activity continue to increase. Several new retailers have seen this activity and that’s brought them to our town.”
Public Lemon opened just a few weeks ago. Best Pizza & Brew will open its fifth location around mid-June or early July. At 3,600 square feet and with over 175 seats, the Vista location will be the company’s largest so far. Handel’s plans to open by early fall, also marking a fifth location for the brand. And a new winery, the fourth for the city of Vista, is scheduled to open by end of year. Vista is home to nearly 20 craft breweries, the most per capita in any U.S. city, for reference.
“The city did an amazing job with the renovations on the Paseo Santa Fe Corridor,” said Joey Freis, co-owner of Best Pizza & Brew. “We see a lot of opportunity for more growth along that corridor and all of Vista as a city in general and we’re really happy to become a part of that. We hope to bring people from other cities into Vista through our brand recognition. We believe that more business in the area is great for everyone, so hopefully by bringing in more people to the area they will find out like we did very quickly how great Vista is. We’re excited to see Downtown continue to grow.”
Tip of the Iceberg
It’s more than just shops that are going up in downtown Vista, said Ham. Some residential projects are taking place, too.
The Rylan Apartments opened late last year, he said, and Paseo Santa Fe, which are two residential developments, should open top of 2022. Residential construction has added 373 new units to the area, said Ham, adding to the city’s population of 103,268 residents. Those residents, he said, are also helping increase foot traffic and business in Downtown.
“These developments are just the tip of the iceberg for Downtown Vista,” he said, “much more is coming.”