Downtown business dominoes are falling thanks in part to ongoing multi-unit housing construction

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Eastchester  consignment store known as In Your Wildest Dreams is moving to F Street. Unremarkable news, to be sure. Funny, though, how one store’s movement can set the dominoes into motion and change things all throughout downtown Bakersfield.

A couple of changes of address, or ownership, or purpose, can set imaginations, and business plans, on a dramatic new course when it comes to the personality of a city’s downtown core.

In Your Wildest Dreams, the quaint little consignment shop on 19th Street which is in the process of moving, is an example. It soft-opens in a couple of weeks with the grand opening set for Dec. 3. Owner Dixie Brewer is jazzed.

“We’re all excited about the future,” she said. “All the new developers and stuff that are coming in are really building it up. We’ve got some good money people coming in downtown creating some new retail downtown, some new breweries downtown. We’ve built up F Street over here really really well. We have a solid, solid group over here, so I’m extremely optimistic about downtown.”

She’s been working closely with Bakersfield City Councilman Andrae Gonzales, who at Wednesday’s council meeting was scheduled to ask the council to approve an Economic Opportunity Area Plan Business Incentives Grant Agreement for Wildest Dreams — dollar amount not set — that will help Brewer’s store meet some start-up expenses.

Wildest Dreams is changing addresses but not landlords. Property owner Tomas del Toro Diaz says the Eastchester dynamic is changing, in large part because of The Cue, an upscale apartment building nearing its May 2022 opening.

“We’re trying to kinda create something, a new vibe down here,” he said. “This was a blighted area and now it’s kind of up and coming. It’s exciting, you know. 18th street has really transformed and my goal is to kind of transform 19th Street. It’s really exciting.”

Del Toro Diaz says he’s considering dividing the old Wildest Dreams in two — and among the possibilities is a brewpub.

“I would like to see this become a district that’s similar to, maybe, to the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara,” he said. “Something like that. You know? Everyone can come and enjoy themselves.”

He’s bullish on downtown. So are the people at Sage properties, developers of the Cue and another project on the site of the old Sinaloa restaurant, also set to be apartments, opening in January 2023 — and this 21,000 square foot office building at 20th and N streets, being marketed by Cushman and Wakefield.

Look for more dominoes to fall in the next month or two. Downtown Bakersfield is changing. 

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