How would you support local retail? Specifically, how would you protect, support and possibly even extend ground-floor retail in our commercial and neighborhood commercial areas? How would you enforce existing laws?
It is important to remember that retail is not just University Ave and California Ave, but El Camino and neighborhood centers (most notably Midtown, Charleston, Edgewood) and Stanford Shopping Center and Town & Country
It is crucial to not only preserve space for retail, but to have that space in clusters that allow stores to mutually reinforce each other
It is also important to recognize that when a building is replaced or substantially remodeled, there is a significant likelihood that any local business there will be replaced by a chain store (or franchisee). I have been told that this is a result of the globalization of such loans – it is easier for non-local investors to assess the reliability of the rental income from a chain
Another important matter is to enforce the ground floor retail preservation ordinance.
I believe that City Hall has been overly focused on University Avenue. The recent improvements to California Avenue are appreciated but seem to have taken forever. But other districts have been neglected. For example, South El Camino Real has been long neglected. It was a major focus of the Comprehensive Plan process in the mid-1990 and then of a Caltrans-funded study in the early 2000s. A range of issues of importance to the merchants were identified—such as visibility of signage on stores, signage for parking—that have yet to be addressed.
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