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Avalon Yoga International closes after nearly 40 years on Cal. Ave.

Original post made on Feb 18, 2022

A nearly 40-year-old yoga studio on California Avenue has closed due to the rising cost of a new lease, leaving yet another vacant space in the business district.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 18, 2022, 9:08 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by CalAveLocal
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 18, 2022 at 1:33 pm

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

Absolutely devastating loss for our community.

Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 18, 2022 at 5:47 pm

mjh is a registered user.

Previous councils have, at the behest of commercial retail property owners, expanded the list of non-retail businesses that they can rent to. Which has had the predictable effect of encouraging commercial retail property owners to raise rents to levels traditional retail cannot support in addition to having to compete with the prominent online retailers. Which also has the unfortunate effect of continuing eroding our traditional core retail zones which depend on critical mass to be viable.

A few years ago council broadened the list of allowable “non retail” businesses that could replace retail and then council member Liz Kniss advocated for allowing exercise studios/gyms be added. There is a certain irony that the Avalon Yoga studio may have fallen victim of this wider list of more profitable uses.

Posted by Evergreen Park Observer
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 18, 2022 at 11:00 pm

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This is a huge loss for Cal Ave and for the local community. Avalon was a jewel in itself, but it also brought a lot of people to Cal Ave. all during the week.

One has to wonder why a property owner is raising the price of the lease. Not exactly a huge demand for space along Cal Ave right now. Must be that the property owner has his/her eye on pressuring the Council to allow for more lucrative types of businesses on the street, e.g., medical and dental offices, etc. Or, perhaps yet another restaurant that can expand space out into the street for free? Forcing out yet another tenant as was done with the Palo Alto Bakery shows that property owners in Palo Alto have no interest in making Cal Ave a diverse shopping and dining area. Property owners want the City to fund all of the improvements to the street while they rake in all the profits. I don't know how Los Altos and Menlo Park get better cooperation out of their property owners, but maybe we should find out. I'm pretty sick of the behavior of the old-time property owners of Palo Alto who think the City should serve them rather than they serve the City. Sad.

Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 19, 2022 at 4:11 pm

mjh is a registered user.

Perhaps the Avalon Yoga space will become another restaurant to add to the conversion of Cal Ave conversion into a food court at the expense of retail.

Unlike the other individual training gyms that replaced retail a few years ago, Avalon Yoga brought plenty of foot traffic to Cal Ave as well as having a retail component which I sometimes patronized along with attractive window displays adding to the pedestrian shopping experience even when closed.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2022 at 9:36 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

mjh, you took the words right out of my mouth. Let all of the food purveyors move to that inaccessible street, and let everyone else move elsewhere. Then, people (including disabled people) who need to buy retail items can buy them at more accessible stores and avoid the urban food (as it is loosely defined, by being served on asphalt) scene. I'm sad that another retailer has bailed out of CalAve but I think it's really for the best. Give CalAve more of what the people want. Nobody cares about amenities like walls, heating and air conditioning, accessible bathrooms and flooring that isn't covered with 50 year old bubble gum. And let's bring back smoking in restaurants if they're all going to be outdoors. I think there is no law against smoking outdoors. It won't bother me, because I wouldn't eat there if you paid me.

Posted by Steve O
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 21, 2022 at 3:41 pm

Steve O is a registered user.

Well let all the people who think keeping California Ave closed to traffic is such a wonderful idea. There is already 15+ empty store fronts on the street with most likely more to come. So enjoy your empty, mostly vacated street with no retail businesses but hey it reminds you all of Europe.
Please consider that this street closure is affecting the livelihood of small business owners, employees and their families. When they small businesses do leave, they won't be coming back

Posted by cheese guy
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 21, 2022 at 6:05 pm

cheese guy is a registered user.

MyFeelz- I am not quite sure what your comment has to do with the story or about California Ave for that matter. This is a Palo Alto problem, the rents on retail are extremely high and small retail businesses struggle, especially when faced with rapidly elevated rents. What restaurants, eating outdoors, outdoor smoking, or disability access has to do with it is not clear. How "it's for the best" that a longstanding retail business is forced to close due to a landlord raising the rents seems a bit insensitive to the business owners, customers, and hope for a diverse set of businesses on California Ave.

Posted by CalAveLocal
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 22, 2022 at 10:57 am

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

Avalon closing has nothing to do with the street being closed for traffic and everything to do with astronomical rent hikes. Avalon has been a Palo Alto institution for 40 years; it was not a "drive by and oh, here is a yoga studio I want to go to" place. For instance, there is no parking in front of the place, one has to park in the back or a parallel street or what not.

Posted by Jon Keeling
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 22, 2022 at 1:27 pm

Jon Keeling is a registered user.

My favorite Yoga place! I hope Avalon's wonderful owner Steve and many of his fabulous teachers find a new home in the area that doesn't cost them as much. As a Karate instructor who leases a space in Palo Alto, I can definitely sympathize with their struggle to keep everyone happy as costs rise.

Posted by Steve O
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 22, 2022 at 3:37 pm

Steve O is a registered user.

I'm sorry but it does have to do with the street closure. It is another obstacle that the small retail businesses are dealing with. The owner of Avalon even said he was worried about the future of California Ave. The closure only benefits a few restaurants, that's all. High rents are something that has been an issue in Palo Alto for many years. It is selfish to assume that the street closure is wonderful because you like it without consequences. Before thinking that you know better maybe talk to the businesses that have been negatively impacted by the closure, it's not all sh*ts and giggles

Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2022 at 4:58 am

Citizen is a registered user.

The solution is simple and yet will take iron resolve.

@Evergreen Los Altos has a community foundation that bought up a lot of the downtown and thus stabilized rent, didn’t it? This allows a diversity of businesses for residents.

That really is the only answer. This has always been a high cost area subject to spikes on the boom side of the business cycle. Quality of life dropped a lot when Cal Ave and Univ lost all the longtime diverse businesses and became gyms and services for day workers whose companies dont even pay local taxes.

As the Stanford model demonstrates, the only way to have stable retail areas is for the city to own the land and/or the buildings. Midtown shopping center was sold not that long ago for $15 million; we could have afforded it. These things are usually financed over 30 years - ends up being very doable.

The only way we can afford to have City services and schools is owning the properties. If we want to have vibrant retail areas again, that is the way, and probably the only way. But it’s doable with resolve.

Posted by scott
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 23, 2022 at 12:32 pm

scott is a registered user.

If you want a healthy Cal Ave, here's what you do:
a) Keep it open to pedestrians. We have another downtown that is taken over by loud soot-spewers already. Let's not cede all of our human-friendly commercial spaces to cars and leave that entire niche to Castro.
b) Accept that you don't get to dictate politically what the street becomes, and that only your money talks. Stores are closing because you -yes, you- haven't spent enough money at those stores. Restaurants are moving in because people spend money there. You don't get to leave your money on the sidelines 364 days out of the year that you're shopping on Amazon, and expect the full suite of local services to be available on the 365th day when you're willing to leave the house.
c) Let more customers move into the area by allowing more, vertical, residential construction. These will be people for whom walking to a local shop might actually tempt them away from Amazon. Unlike --as Cal Ave currently shows-- most current Palo Altans.

Posted by PalyJim
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 24, 2022 at 9:10 am

PalyJim is a registered user.

I grew up in between Old PA and Calif. Ave (as we called it, then) between home and grandparent's home. It's an old theme, so pardon the reminder, but it was filled with retail, both chain and independent owners, stores along with banking, grocery and drug stores. It seems that stores close every year due to rising rents by unnamed landlords, only to be replaced by dull and lifeless "professional" offices that offer no spirit of place. Palo Altans make loud noises to keep "chain" restaurants out of downtown or Calif. Ave, but even those are more inviting than software startups or medical offices. "Dull" comes to mind!

Posted by EYC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2022 at 11:00 am

EYC is a registered user.

It is sad to lose it. We have enough restaurants on Cal Ave already. People need to go out to have normal life. Go to the gyms, purchase in local grocery stores, pet supplies stores...........

Posted by marc665
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 27, 2022 at 7:22 pm

marc665 is a registered user.

It is interesting that none of the people complaining here will step forward to do anything. They all want someone else to fix it.

If you want to do something, put up your homes as collateral buy the building and then rent it out for a small fee. You can pay for it out of the windfall profit you will get when you sell the home you bought for $25,000 for millions of dollars. You can give back to the community without being a greedy homeowner.


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