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Editorial: The retail quandary

Original post made on Feb 10, 2017

The retail health of Palo Alto's various commercial districts has ebbed and flowed over the decades, influenced by economic cycles, competition from shopping malls and big-box retailers, retail consolidations and — most recently — the internet and online shopping.

Read the full editorial here Web Link posted Friday, February 10, 2017, 12:00 AMf

Comments (7)

Posted by Richard
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 10, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Another spot on editorial beginning with the reclamation of Town Country.
But more importantly, our City urgently needs an highly qualified person to fill the vacant economic-development director position and take the load off of our Council.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2017 at 12:21 pm

What concerns me and probably others is what is the vision for Midtown? It is well used, vibrant and most of all useful. We want it to stay that way.

We don't want it turning into another upscale boutique and restaurant place. We want it to remain useful, affordable and the sort of place we might bump into people we know. The new Wells Fargo has to be there for a reason? What is that reason I wonder?

Posted by It's Getting More and More Clear
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm

It is getting to be quite obvious that the city council, the developers, the techies, the billionaires etc all want the middle and upper middle classes to up and LEAVE Palo Alto, leaving it only to the very wealthy!

The powers that be, as well as the millennial. have also made it quite clear 5hat they want anyone over45 years old to leave, so they can have our homes!

Give Trump a chance/- if he keeps his campaign promise to retract the real estate capital gains taxes, all of the obnoxious and pushy richies will get their wish!

And we can go somewhere clean, unpolluted, and with a higher standard of living!

Posted by Homer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 10, 2017 at 6:37 pm

I paid uber millions for my house and I expect to be served when I want and how I want. I want the nicest restaurants and fancy boutiques and screw all of the help than NEEDS to serve me.

Posted by margaret heath
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2017 at 7:35 pm

When council discussed retail protection a year or so ago, council member Kniss reported that she had checked out University Avenue and found it to be thriving. Therefore, Kniss argued, there was no need to further define what types of businesses should be allowed on the core retail streets and what businesses should be supporting retail on the adjacent side streets. In other words, let well alone.

However, as we have seen all too often. when council doesn’t plan in advance for the best outcome, we end up with unfortunate results. And by then it is too late.

Take, for instance, the corner of California Avenue and Birch Street, a prominent retail location, where a personal training studio now occupies the former stationary store space. The large retail windows are often black when I drive past, particularly uninviting, and when the lights are on what you see is a large almost empty room with a scattering of exercise equipment. This completely interrupts the flow of retail and restaurants and discourages walking any further.. A second personal training studio has also opened on California Avenue, but it’s location is not quite so prominent.

Council have agreed how important it is to have a core mix of lively shops and restaurants in close proximity. While personal services (without a retail component) are also very important, the best place for them il is on the adjacent side streets where they will bring in foot traffic to support the retail without having a deleterious effect.

Unfortunately, a laissez faire attitude is probably the fastest way to erode a critical mass of thriving retail and restaurants.

Posted by Todd
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:05 pm

While you can dictate which kind of businesses can be located where, you can't dictate against empty storefronts due to those businesses not being profitable. You may want to ask yourselves why those professional services can command a much higher rent... or why every retail establishment downtown (and everywhere else in Palo Alto) has a "help wanted" sign.

Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 14, 2017 at 8:10 am

The exercise studio located at the former stationary store location is a blight to the neighborhood. The exercise studio is almost always deserted. Is it a front for something else?

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