Property owner embraces downtown vision
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Apr 19, 2013 | 6320 views | 13 13 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New restaurants coming soon
Byron Alvarez, managing partner for MAA Tracy Limited Properties, on Thursday, April 18, looks over the area that will become the kitchen of the new E-MO Korean Fusion BBQ at 31 W. 10th St. The Korean barbecue is one of two new restaurants coming to 10th Street.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
view slideshow (5 images)
One downtown property owner has taken the initiative to rejuvenate 10th Street by enticing “high-end” restaurants to his vacant storefronts.

Byron Alvarez, managing partner for several downtown properties, said he and other property owners have brainstormed ways to attract a variety of tenants to their empty properties.

To attract the first two upscale restaurants, Alvarez said he offered “unbelievable terms” that included six months free rent and six months half-price rent at a dollar to $1.25 per square foot. He said he is also paying for the kitchen installations at the two sites that could cost as much as $100,000 each.

The first two restaurants to bite are a Korean barbecue and a gastro pub, both on 10th Street.

“We’re breaking the skids on the ice,” Alvarez said. “We know if we have high-end restaurants, we’ll have high-end boutiques.”

Construction has started on the first restaurant, E-Mo’s Korean Fusion BBQ at 31 10th St., and it is slated to open in June.

Owned and operated by sisters, Gina and Ji Yeong Pak, the restaurant will serve Korean food with a “modern flair,” Gina Pak said.

Fusion is a style of cooking that combines elements of different culinary traditions, and she said they hope the restaurant will attract a more diverse population to the downtown area.

“We did research on Tracy and there’s going to be a lot of new companies coming in and we felt having a different variety of restaurants on that row (is good) — that’s the vision,” she said. “People are excited to have a downtown full of eateries.”

A gastro pub slated to open at 49 10th St., named The Commons, is owned and operated by John Oh.

The Tracy native said he hopes that by September, he’ll be serving spirits, beer and food in the restaurant’s rustic setting accented with modern touches.

“Maybe because I’m from Tracy, it appealed to me to be downtown,” he said. “For me, it’s the right fit — it’s the right feel. It just works.”

According to Amie Mendes, economic development analyst for Tracy, the city also hopes to attract businesses with a downtown façade improvements project. The project will be funded through community development block grants, she said, but no start date has been revealed.

Mendes said she liked what she was seeing through the efforts of the property owners.

“Retail follows restaurants, so it’s a good kick-start to the downtown,” she said. “We think it’s a great start when you have that synergy all focused on 10th Street.”

Artist renderings of the pub and a sample menu are available on the restaurant website at

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or
Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 23, 2013
Best of luck to these new restaurants. It would be great to see more success stories in the downtown.

As for the wish for different chain restaurants. I really don't think it would matter what is coming, the grass is always greener. There are a few chain restaurants (Applebees, Olive Garden, Chili's, Texas Roadhouse), that folks used to wish for. I don't know how many the residents are willing to support. A well run private restaurant is probably much better than a major chain anyway. Unless you like to know exactly what you're getting (menu & food quality) ahead of time. Some folks just like consistency.
April 22, 2013
I wish the new business good luck. I personally would love to see Outback/ Elephant Bar come to Tracy. I am tired of having to drive 35 minutes to eat at a decent place. Texas Roadhouse is good food, but the noise makes me head hurt.
April 25, 2013
I will not enter another Elephant Bar or Buffalo Wild Wings again because of the noise I experienced in their other establishments.
April 20, 2013
I hope Mr. Alvarez and the new restaurant owners are successful. But if past history means anything the two new restaurants will fail. When you drive 2 hours to work in the Bay area and then drive 2 hours back your not likely to go out to dinner after work in Tracy. The plain truth is the city council has created a bedroom community where small business cannot survive. There are few living wage jobs in Tracy which is a recipe for economic disaster.
April 20, 2013
What's keeping you from moving closer to your work?
April 20, 2013
Inspite of what our king is trying to do we are still a capitalist society. A buidling owner has the right to get whatever amount of rent they can based on the market - see supply & demand principles.

When a building is vacant there's at least two other things an owner needs to worry about beyond property taxes. To wit:

1)Insurance. Unless there's no lienholder the building owner must carry insurance which they should have even without a lienholder. After a buidling is vacant for a certain number of days - usually 90, the coverage on a building owners (lessors risk) policy changes. One example, vandalism becomes excluded.

In addition, depending on the length of time the property remains vacant the lessors risk policy must be cancelled and a vacant policy issued for the building to covered properly. The market for vacant policies is pretty limited and those policies are at minimum 50% higher than a standard lessors risk policy. If the insured does not change their policy after a certain point of vacancy a claim could be denied due to having the wrong type of policy.


April 20, 2013
2) Loss of income. Even without a mortgage payment on the building there's still costs coming out of the owners pocket so I highly doubt they enjoy seeing it empty. Add a mortgage payment to the mix and the expenses go even higher.

Look, unless someone has owned a business or a building they just don't know what it's like. I guarantee there's few owners who think, hey, I'll just sit back and take a loss until I get my price, or screw the renters who don't want to pay my price.

It behooves a business owner to sell products & services, it behooves a building owner to get a tenant in their building. Know how it all works out? Supply & demand.

What one calls greed I call common sense business practices. As long as a business or building owner is not breaking the law or engaging in poor business ethics I see no problem with them trying to get the max for rent, products & services.

As long as we remain a capitalist society allow the market to dictate what they can get.

If cheaper rents are the answer, risk your money, buy a building, and rent it out for lower prices.
April 19, 2013
Here's an idea that might entice more business:

Stop being greedy and lower the lease so small business has an opportunity to flourish in Town.

Stop trying to turn water into wine, this is not Danville or Walnut Creek. There is a reason empty store fronts litter this town. From the complex by the Ace station, to downtown, to the outlet mall.

If you keep being greedy, your store fronts will sit empty and all you will do is pay the annual property tax.
April 20, 2013

Maybe I read a different artical... I note in the third paragraph where it states:

"To attract the first two upscale restaurants, Alvarez said he offered “unbelievable terms” that included six months free rent and six months half-price rent at a dollar to $1.25 per square foot. He said he is also paying for the kitchen installations at the two sites that could cost as much as $100,000 each."

Mr. Roberts how is this "being greedy" and not lowering the lease so small business giveing them opportunity to flurish? Mr. Alvarez is doing just what you want. Do you not read before you post or do you just like to post to read your name?
April 21, 2013
Furthermore (adding to C.R.'s comment), half the homes in the downtown area are dilapidated and squalid. I've walked this area: litter, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, front yards full of junk, weeds, etc. A walk after a meal is nice, but these neighborhoods are dirty.

Human rights are contingent. It is time those in power demand responsibility from derelicts (yes, I know, you have the right to be a benighted derelict--I stand corrected).
April 19, 2013
That's fine. Wish you the best, but I am not sure how it will work out?

One thing I kind of wish is that Tracy would get some of the popular old restaurants that I go with my parents out of town to eat at. Red Lobster and Marie Callendar's are just a few.

Maybe I am old fashioned, but I kind of wish those restaurants came to this city. I mean this city is growing and it surprises me these popular restaurants are not here. I hope others agree but it is just my opinion.
April 19, 2013
I'd be fine with those...but...I'd much rather see small business owners opening restaurants. The food is usually much better quality, service is better and it's someone very vested in the community instead of just a chain.

I wouldn't mind Red Lobster (seriously, who doesn't like lobster?), but I'm excited for these places that I can walk to and have a NEW experience...I can go to the chains anywhere...

a pub and Korean fusion...yum!!!

a huge thanks to Mr. Alvarez and the other owners for thinking proactively and working to make downtown someplace awesome (and tasty!).

We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at