1746 Post (www.SocketSite.com)
The NEW PEOPLE complex (previously known as the J-Pop Center) opened its doors this weekend at 1746 Post. There’s a small theater dedicated to Japanese productions in the basement, eats on the first floor, and goods on the mezzanine.
1746 Post: Mezzanine (www.SocketSite.com)
The second floor is all about fashion.
1746 Post: Second Floor (www.SocketSite.com)
And the third, along with a building wide “DeTour,” are all about the arts.
While the redevelopment of the Japantown center remains on hold and Japantown’s Better Neighborhood Plan inches forward, one can’t help but wonder if this is a peek into the neighborhood’s future.
NEW PEOPLE (1746 Post Street) [NewPeopleWorld.com]
Japantown: The Question, The Answer And Your Chance To Embellish [SocketSite]
Japantown’s Better Neighborhood Plan Update: Draft Acknowledged [SocketSite]

31 thoughts on “A Peek Into NEW PEOPLE (And Future For Japantown?) At 1746 Post”
  1. I love the Manga / Anime Art store on the 3rd floor.
    My Japanese girlfriend is an animator who does Manga stories for a publication. She’s like a Kid in a Candy store when we go to this place. Really nice !
    And yes, most of the time, I am the only white guy in there…. 😉

  2. It’s a mistake to put “eats” on the first floor and retail on the upper floors. Upper floors will not get sufficient traffic. They should have reversed the flow, with the restaurant on the top to draw traffic to the upper floors.
    I predict this retail venture will fail within a year or so.

  3. Not sure if it is a mistake to put the restaurant on the first floor, it is very un-Japanese. The Tokyo cityscape is loaded with restaurants that ride above ground level retail.
    If a local hadn’t pointed out that food was an elevator ride away, my American eyes would have been blind to the tasty stuff above me.
    Maybe that’s why the food ended up on the ground floor here. Better to be successful than authentic ?

  4. I suppose it depends on which venture you want to be successful. If you want the restaurant to succeed and the retail is just bonus and doesn’t have to be profitable, then they’ve designed it OK. If it’s really about the retail and the “eats” are to draw in the customer, then it’s not going to work. But they’ve devoted two floors to retail here, so it does seem like retail is the priority.

  5. Sorry BernalDweller, but “The Milkshake of Despair” is right. It is very un-Japanese.
    Only we American stick food joints pretty much everywhere, even in places like Mt. Rushmore, where there is really no need for something like that because people don’t spend hours starting at the monuments (we’ll some do, but they are a small minority). It is precisely the reason why we are hurling towards an Obesity Epidemic.
    Ever seen a lot of Fat Japanese people ? No ? Not even two or three ? Me neither. Go figure !

  6. Depends on what’s up there. People don’t seem to have too much trouble going up to the second floor of the Apple store.

  7. I think Milkshake is right about the restaurant on the first floor. I started to get a little used to restaurants upstairs without signs when my asian friends were taking me around their nyc hang outs, but I would never have guessed all those places were there (especially the one in the basement of the office building where you go in the service entrance and have to tell security where you are going, of course that was one of the best places I’ve ever been!). I think that trying to rent upstairs spaces to restaurants would be a hard sell to their owners and financial backers in this country.
    I think the retail will do all right because it is stuff that people will be looking for and the glass facade makes it pretty easy to see that there are stores upstairs.

  8. I never said Milkshake was wrong, and I’ve been to Tokyo many times. I agree this is very un-Japanese. No dispute there. It just depends on what you devote your most productive space to, and the ground floor is almost always the most productive.
    As for the Apple store, you picked a very good example that supports my case. Remember what was there before Apple? Sephora. You know why it wasn’t there long? Because the entire second floor was totally unproductive – they went to a one-floor location on Powell. What does Apple have on the second floor? The genius bar and the classroom space – you have to go there if you need that service – it doesn’t generate retail sales. Where is 90% of the Apple retail floor space? On the ground floor. I’m speaking Stockton St. only, of course.
    I’ve been in retail a long time – I’ve seen plenty of stores, and upper floors need to be designed to get the customer up there in some specific way. Browsers tend not to go beyond the first floor.

  9. Typically in Japan restaurants are located at the top floors of department stores and retail are located at the ground level. The NP building layout and design looks similar to La Foret in Harajuku where there are a lot of tiny stores selling women’s clothing. I would hope the center display on the 2nd floor be replace with more tiny stores. I found the selection catering to the avid nipponophiles and nothing for the rest of us.

  10. Again, you seem to be missing the point.
    Japanese people don’t want food “thrust in their face”. It’s only us Americans who go looking for food and snacks and drinks everywhere we go, and we want it all on the ground floor because we are too fat and lazy to go up a couple of floor, despite the buildings having elevators and escalators.

  11. With respect to the first floor “eats,” if you follow the link you’ll note that it’s simply more of a snack counter that doubles as the theater’s box office with coffee (Blue Bottle), light snacks (DELICA) and treats (XOX).

  12. This building, supposedly a one-stop-shopping center for delayed adolescents, will be a ghost town within a year. Japantown across the street barely limps along with its filthy, cookie-cutter (Korean and Chinese owned) Japanese restaurants (evidenced by the rat traps strategically placed at the building’s entrances) and tourist-oriented retail. Why one would add even more retail space to this neighborhood is beyond me. The design of the building demonstrates the half-a**ed nature of the entire project: a trendy façade with an extremely ugly, industrial, North-Korean inspired rear, a unbroken 5-story block of concrete the color of a dead television set. Once the Apple store figures out that the location sucks, they’ll pull out and the rest of the businesses will quickly disappear one by one. Glad I’m not the banker on this one.

  13. There’s quite a bit of retail on the second floor of the Apple store. All the peripherals, all the accessories (such as cases) and all the software. Last time I was there it was just as crowded as the first floor – and it wasn’t just people waiting for a seminar or the genius bar either. If the merchandise is what people want, a second floor location will not deter them.
    On the other hand, putting the restaurant on an upper floor, especially in this building, might have given it an interesting, exotic feel.
    Last comment: stairs. You can’t just rely on an elevator. An escalator is best, but if that’s not feasible for some reason the stairs need to be especially inviting (think Apple store). And I would strongly recommend a maximum rise of 6 inches rather than the usual, code mandated 7. It makes a huge difference. The nicest stairs I have ever been on had a riser height of 4 inches. Fabulous.

  14. While I don’t get anything inside that space, I like the needed dose of commercial buzz in a tired, derivative enclave. And I like the blunt wall of glass. More please.
    If SF would dare with projects like [the proposed Cathedral Hill Tower], J-town can blend old and new and become the fine ‘hood it is geographically (ie central), transit (ie central), & historically (there’s history) poised to become.
    Otherwise J-Town will remain a somewhat dull & romantic notion of a place which could have been — without ever really achieving its genuine esprit de corps.

  15. Mount Fuji has junk food kiosks all the way up the well trodden paths. Eight parts full may be a common saying, but packaged candies are everywhere in Japan. If store eateries are less common there, it may be because of the ubiquity of rows of vending machines.
    That said, it seems like part of the appeal of this place is that it is not part of the Japantown development which is now so dated and dreary.

  16. Frankly if the second and third floor have interesting merchandise, I might just venture up there. There are lots of interesting things they sell in Japan that you cannot find it here. For example, I would love to see a Muji store on the top floor (why NYC has so many and none here just boggles my mind). Maybe they can make 2nd floor into a pachinko store. That would definitely draw a lot of people. Anyway, they just need to make the stores on 2nd and 3rd a destination and not selling some oddball stuff.

  17. The nicest stairs I have ever been on had a riser height of 4 inches
    Oh, I absolutely HATE that. Makes you work twice as hard and stare at the floor to avoid tripping, because it’s such an unnatural height change.

  18. I for one am happy to see this. J-town as it stands has some good Japanese stuff (I like the Kinokuniya, a franchise from the home country) but overall the place echoes Tokyo 1970, not 2009.
    And let me second anon’s comment regarding 4-inch risers. It would take me forever to get up those stairs.

  19. I know short risers can trip up people who are not used to them, but they are very helpful for people who are suffering from hip and knee problems (like the one’s at the Winchester Mystery House). It is a compromise to make it so that more people can use the stairs. Making the stairs a little deeper when the riser is shorter usually helps make it a natural cadence to walk up or down.

  20. ^I guess I look at it this way, joe, we already force places to build elevators for those with walking problems. Why make the stairs harder for everyone, when most people with hip and knee problems are going to use the elevator anyway?

  21. I go to Tokyo 1-2x/yr. There is food everywhere, even in the countryside. If Japan had a Mt Rushmore, I’d bet my life savings that there would be food there. Just visit any tourist attraction and you’ll most likely see an eatery or a snack stand. Few cultures can compare with Japan when it comes to food obsession.
    And while a high proportion of eateries in Tokyo are not on ground floor (compared to the US), there are plenty of places where one can indeed dine at street level.
    While I’m happy to see this attempt to inject life into J-town, I question how well some of the businesses will do in the long run. Shops like Baby the Stars Shine Bright are popular to nerdy teenage J-pop-ophiles for the time being, but the niche market it serves will soon realize that they cannot continue to afford such expensive clothing, and that they won’t be able to wear such clothes regularly in SF without being stared at – exceptions being Halloween of course (every day is Halloween in Tokyo’s youth districts).
    Also, I’m not sure why they opted for crap vinyl flooring in NEW PEOPLE the Store. It’s already buckling in some spots, and I’m sure it’ll get only get worse. I think polished concrete would have suited the space better. And someone already mentioned, I would rather see a Muji here. A Loft or Tokyu Hands would also be nice — their furniture departments might do particularly well if SF keeps building new 600 sqft condo units.
    If J-town does become a nicer, more inviting neighborhood, this place might have some hope. Especially if it draws in the tourist crowd, who can shop for novelity items.
    By the way, I saw plenty of white folks there on Tuesday evening, many of whom were dressed up in costumes (probably some anime character). About half of the people there were white, followed by about 30% Chinese, 10% Japanese, and 10% other.

  22. The Container Store on Fourth Street is a perfect example of an out of state retailer not having a clue as what to do with a second floor. Most of their stores are mall based and single level, so they have been a bit challenged with their locations here and in Manhattan. But, rather than change their layout to fit the space, people walking by the store on their way to Moscone Center are greeted by a view of trash containers, all kinds, kitchen bath you name it… and where is the ‘travel’ section? Yeah, upstairs out of sight out of mind… Sigh.

  23. sparkyb,
    Yep, you’re right, 7″ max. Isn’t that what I said? “And I would strongly recommend a maximum rise of 6 inches rather than the usual, code mandated 7.”
    anon and Po Hill Jeff,
    My guess is you’ve never been on a staircase with 4-inch risers, at least not a properly designed one. They’re pretty rare because they require so much space.
    The riser height and tread width of any stair needs to allow a natural rhythm. Tall risers thus need short treads. Shallow risers need deep treads. Four-inch risers need at least fourteen-inch treads. Some formulas say nineteen inches. That’s a lot of real estate.
    Personally, I go for the 6-inch riser as the best combination of luxury and practicality.

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