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Auto Mall going to Menlo Park?

Original post made by ToldUSo on Oct 6, 2006

So according to Palo Alto Online, there is a proposed GM Auto Park going to Menlo Park, approx. a mile away from the now defunct Auto Mall suggested for Palo Alto. Now, where do you think Palo Alto residents in the market for a new car are going to spend their auto sales tax. This city is losing out to its neighbours all the time. It is about time we sat up and asked ourselves the question, when will we move ahead and join 21st century marketing and shopping trends? If not, we will end up with practically zero sales tax dollars coming into the coffers. Then we will be up the creek without a paddle!

Comments (14)

Posted by ToldUSo, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2006 at 5:32 pm

Where is my apology of the typo?

Posted by Carol, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2006 at 5:37 pm

It looks like we have said goodbye to $750,000 in sales tax for the first year and an estimated $38 million over 40 years. This is not something to be sneezed at. Just think what Palo Alto could do with this money.

Posted by Maron, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 6, 2006 at 6:47 pm

So what can Palo Alto do to keep from losing their auto dealerships to Menlo Park or other cities? Porsche has left. Ford closed. Volvo wants to build a bigger dealership and is looking outside Palo Alto. Most auto dealerships want to be located next to a freeway. What will Palo Alto do to keep their auto dealerships from leaving??

Posted by AP, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 7, 2006 at 2:21 am

Notice that GM is buying the land not the City of MP. If the automaker wanted to put their dealership in PA, they would have bought or leased the land along E. or W.Bayshore. There are plenty of vacant buildings there. The last best spot would have been the old Sun Micro Systems campus on San Antonio Road. Where were the dealers when that property became available?

On the other hand, why not get rid of the airport and put an auto mall there. It could be unique in that you could test drive on the air strip. There's plenty of space.

Posted by anonymous coward, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 7, 2006 at 2:45 am

Lose the airport, a unique community asset, to support an auto mall? I hope not. Palo Alto needs to get creative about business development in ways that _leverage_ current assets, without destroying them. There's lots that can be done; it takes will, foresight, judical risk-taking, fierce on-the-ground execution, top-notch negotiation, etc. We have a ways to go...

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 7, 2006 at 9:51 am

" takes will, foresight, judical risk-taking, fierce on-the-ground execution, top-notch negotiation, etc. We have a ways to go..."

In Palo Alto?!?! Hahahahahahaha!!!

Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 7, 2006 at 10:32 am


Yes GM is buying the land not the city of Menlo Park. But do we know if GM would have preferred Palo Alto? Palo Alto has been talking about an Auto Mall for sometime and it could be that GM and others were waiting in the wings for a decision. It is comparatively recent that the decision was made against the Palo Alto suggested Mall and it looks like GM's decision is so closely timed that they were waiting to see what was happening. The way I hear this on GM's part is that they have made no decision yet as to what cars they will sell on their lot and they are waiting to see who will lease some of their land for dealerships before finding out what their opposition will look like. It wouldn't surprise me if the other dealerships moving there turn out to be Volvo and others quitting Palo Alto.

I moved to Palo Alto 17 years ago and it appears to have gone downhill steadily in that time. Our infrastructure is looking tired to say the least and we really don't have much to be proud of in this city apart from what private money has invested (Stanford and YMCA to name 2). Our shopping areas are a mess. Our schools are struggling to keep abreast of increased enrollments. Our businesses are leaving. Our house prices are escalating as people move here in place of the businesses that were here. Many of us are asking the right questions and instead, Palo Alto will do some studies.

Posted by anonymous coward, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 7, 2006 at 12:18 pm

hulkamania..."" takes will, foresight, judical risk-taking, fierce on-the-ground execution, top-notch negotiation, etc. We have a ways to go..."
In Palo Alto?!?! Hahahahahahaha!!!"
Yeah, I know what you mean, I was laughing as I wrote it, too.....:)))))))))))))))))

Posted by Veritas, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 8, 2006 at 1:15 pm

Its time for a new City Manager, Assistant City Manager in Palo Alto.

Posted by resident, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 9, 2006 at 6:27 am

I'm sure that auto malls are a fiscally reasonable idea. At a personal level, I would prefer that the cradle of Silicon Valley, home of the brain trust at Stanford, find its tax revenue dollars by hosting innovative industries rather than rely on car sales.

By virtue of its university and research centers, doesn't Palo Alto, as a city, host rather uncommon intellectual resources? I would prefer that those resources be exploited before our highway frontage. there room for more bio-tech? What is the next-tech? How about the social sciences? The arts?

How do we leverage our proximity to Stanford to make our city attractive to the industries associated with other intellectually based fields?

Posted by Heller, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 9, 2006 at 6:36 am

Intellectual resources?? Palo Alto needs to stop depending on Stanford. Bottom line- we need to have to have our residents spend their money (food, clothing, household items, auto sales, ect.) in their city.

Posted by anonymous coward, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 9, 2006 at 9:00 pm

Veritas, the answer is not a new city manager - the city manager follows general policy directives, and strategies. the problem is that he's not appropriately and firmly LED by policy. Guess who makes policy? :)

Both "resident" and "Heller" are correct.

We need to do better with Stanford, mostly by being proactive. We have nearly zero in the way of real business development here. This is one place where policy makers tried to make a difference, by giving staff more development personnel, but the city manager refused. That was a mistake, _assuming_ that he would have brought in someone who is a real "hunter". The latter is unusal in municipal government development circles, but it's what we need, and need badly.

We also need to get far more innovative and aggressive about keeping shoppers actively engaged in Palo Alto - but where? I would like to hear from Heller what he has in mind for making that happen.

Posted by Sandy, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 11, 2006 at 3:27 pm

Well Palo Alto had their chance. They always turn the Auto Mall option down. We have to be more aggressive and helpful and creative with developers if we want to keep that tax revenue. Go to the City Meetings and raise some heck and lets keep that revenue in town! We have may options and this could happen on the other side of 101 by Mings as well. Menlo Park may just get it away from us.

Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 13, 2006 at 11:24 am

So the land near Ming's, what was Scotts is being cleared at present. Does anyone know what is being put there? Is it a big box store? Since it is where it is, does anyone care about what is put there? I ask the last question not because I think people don't care, but because it is where it is, this may be a site where things (other than an auto mall) may not cause a controversy.

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