As a follower of art, music and pop culture, the last weeks of each year are often spent in reflection, such as my year-in-review list. But it is also fun to look ahead, to ponder what the world might have in store for the new year. With that in mind, I reached out to some local media types to get their predictions for 2017, which I offer here, along with a few ideas of my own.
For Mike Seay, 2017 will be all about the Fulton Mall. Or rather, Fulton Street.
“Even people who fought to keep the mall as it was, are curious to see what Fulton Street will look like,” says Seay, a local podcaster and blogger with The Fresnan. He wonders if any new businesses will open on the street in 2017 and whether it will be enough to pull in people who live north of Shaw. “Will it be just the regular people you see downtown using it?”
Seay also thinks 2017 may be the year something finally moves into the old World Sports Cafe space at River Park. The restaurant has been closed for nearly three years.
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“How can one of the prime spots in River Park go vacant for so long? Time to build some lofts, River Park,” Seay says.
Jason Squires, the director of programming and marketing at the radio station New Rock 104.1, predicts 2017 will see “more people being exposed to music – live, recorded, or otherwise.” With that local fans will get better at supporting one another’s events, “regardless of genre,” he says. “Big things happened here in 2016, and 2017 can take it to that next level.”
On that note, here are a few predictions of my own:
▪ Smaller music venues will make a big impact in 2017. The Save Mart Center has already booked some top-shelf concerts in 2017 and will no doubt add to that list as the year progresses. I predict we also see an influx of smaller venues in the area – bars, clubs and the like – dedicating their time to bringing in quality live music. Pay special attention to Warnors Theatre, Fulton 55 and Dynamite Vinyl.
▪ The tech sector will explode. This based on what we’ve seen from Bitwise Industries since it moved into its 50,000 square-foot, $7 million geek space downtown and on the news that the group had part in purchasing the Old Spaghetti Factory building on Ventura and R streets and will announce plans for additional expansion in downtown in January.
▪ Downtown will see a major retail chain announce an opening on Fulton street. If Fresno can land a Dave and Busters and reopen a Krispy Kreme in one year, it should able to get a Target, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods to commit to a space downtown.
▪ The Oakland Raiders will make – and win– the Super Bowl. With Derek Carr at the helm, the Raiders became Fresno’s team. They also made the playoffs for the first time in more than a dozen years. A championship win, even with Carr injured and out of the game, would give the city a nice shot of confidence.