Downtown Santa Ana’s East End isn’t impervious to change. This time it’s more about youth trends than tradition
Cities change over time. Santa Ana is not an exception.
Community members have referred to the ongoing developments downtown as gentrification or even “ethnic cleansing.”
This is not the case.
Downtown Santa Ana’s market has been changing since it was built, and it has never catered to a single ethnic group.
The latest developments are just another shift in the city’s changing market. The new shops and restaurants are bringing in a younger crowd that is more willing to spend money, bringing more tax revenue for the city, and presumably more jobs.
Additionally, property owners are cleaning up and renovating existing buildings while keeping the historical integrity intact.
But mistakes were made.
Merchants were illegally taxed to fund Downtown Inc., an organization formed to provide security. Many shop owners likened it to a protection racket.
As a result, older generations of shop owners feel muscled out by property owners looking to make space for trendy new retailers, restaurants and bars.
Despite the shoddy execution of plans, the renovations are not targeting Latinos, and it’s not “ethnic cleansing.”
Older businesses are facing the winds of generational change.