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more businesses being kicked out of downtown Palo Alto

Original post made by Sarah, Midtown, on Mar 19, 2010

Story in the Mercury-News: Web Link
Anyone know what is really going on?

Comments (9)

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Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2010 at 10:51 am

Palo Alto has always been unfriendly to business. Yes, they talk about tax revenue and Destination Palo Alto and luring shopper etc. Bit businesses have seen that their are too many micromanagers, too many complainers about traffic, too many ridiculous regulations pushed by NIMBYists. They lost the Stanford Shopping Center expansion, now downtown is slowly drying up. Palo Alto is reaping what they sewed

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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

The Mercury-News article implies that the main problem is incompetent landlords. Any truth to that?

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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2010 at 4:45 pm

This sort of thing happens all the time, in any kind of business climate. A couple of (building) partners have a falling out, or, someone needs some cash while someone else wants to keep a long-term investment. It could be anything.

The natural thing when this happens would be for the business to move to a new location. Since they are planning to close instead, I guess the high rents associated with the Palo Alto mystique prevented that. I never could understand why landlords let buildings sit idle, sometimes for years, because they can't get what they think a property is "worth". I'm sure modern economic theory has a name for this ageless phenomenon, which has nothing to do with whether or not "Palo Alto has always been unfriendly to business."

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:00 pm

When you say "kicked out" what do you mean?

I know a few people who run some small buisnesses in Palo Alto, and my stab at what is going on is greedy landlords. People open a small business and in order to be here they have to pay the landlord so much they cannot afford to live themselves.

Then we see the greedy SOBs logging in here and blaming everything on taxes ... because they want to keep even more of their gluttonous gains.

Storefront after storefront closes, and the landlords are so used to making big bucks that they would rather sit closed than negotiate for a fair rent to their tenants. Anyway, I don't know is this the majority of what is happening, but it is sure part of it.

It would be interesting to know some of the local stories about who owns what locations and what happened? What are the tax rammifications. I think small buisnesses that want to exist in Palo Alto are at the mercy of landlords that just do not care. Not sure what can be done about that ... but I am sure that is some of the true stories came out they might be a bit more sensitive to their image. After all capitalism is a system where we are supposed to get to vote with our dollars, express approval or disapproval with our spending. Can we add some of this in Palo Alto and see if it helps humanize things a little or at least informs us who owns what give us a chance to say something about it.

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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Read the Mercury-News article. It talks about one store that has been in business for 20 years, but is now being forced out because the landlord will not renew their lease.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Here is the article about Diddams from today's print version

Web Link

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Posted by Not again?
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Mar 19, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Too Much Traffic keeps repeating his mantra, again and again blaming Palo Alto for Stanford pulling the Shopping Center out of their plans. Never a shred of evidence, just that the fiction reaffirms his scorn.
Stanford removed the shopping center because of the depression. Shopping centers are hurting all over the country, they are safeguarding what they have.

"Palo Alto is reaping what they sewed" That should be ripping.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2010 at 8:31 am

Can someone define what is "fair rent"? What is fair? Is it a dollar amount? Is it a certain amount above the monthly mortgage, utility, property tax, income tax, sales tax, business tax, management fee, janitorial fees, etc.? Is the averAge price per sqft in Palo Alto? Should the landlord take a loss because of what a fair rent should be?

If someone is going to throw out the "fair" argument (which I'm not opposed to), I think that putting forth a quantifiable amount would strengthen the point. Otherwise it just comes off as whining.

And we can lay a good portion of the canceled Stanford Shopping Center at the feet of the of the past version of the PA city council. Over the top demands for both the shopping center and the hospital project forced Stanford to drop the project. The PA PITA quotient became too high.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm

"I never could understand why landlords let buildings sit idle, sometimes for years, because they can't get what they think a property is "worth"."

As a friend in the business once told me: if you can't find anyone to pay your rent, you're asking too much. If your tenants aren't complaining about high rents and threating to move, you aren't charging enough.

Now then, there are certain landlords who think they deserve a particular rent and will wait forever to get it. As their property sits empty, producing no income at all, they whine about the bad business climate, NIMBYs, and the government.

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