Town Square

Post a New Topic

What is happening with our downtown?

Original post made by Downtown Resident on Jan 27, 2009

It seems like every other day there is a new business being closed in the downtown area. It is very disappointing to see. What is being done to 'recruit' new, potential tenants? If this keeps up, then downtown Pleasanton will become a ghost town and lose it's charm and character!

Comments (23)

Posted by A resident, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jan 27, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Which store is closing? or closed? I was in downtown a couple of weeks ago but didn't notice any new stores being closed.


Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm

I don't know about very recently, but there are plenty of vacant storefronts. How many businesses can afford the $20k+ for the former Domus spot? Think about how much you would have to sell per month to cover rent, utilities, insurance, employees, etc. It's ridiculous.

The killer for me was the pleasanton hotel. While I do not know the particulars of the lease problems with the person who owns that space, there does seem to be an indication that landlords are not really willing to work with tenants to come up with viable solutions.
Personally I think they are greedy.

I hope pleasanton will be able to maintain its very charming and unique downtown character where we have some very nice small businesses. This is going to be difficult given how unwilling landlords seem to be in making reasonable lease agreements. Personally, I don't know how anything other than a chain could survive downtown in this economy, at least in some of the larger or more prominent spaces.






Posted by Qwerty, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm

I don't know about very recently, but there are plenty of vacant storefronts. How many businesses can afford the $20k+ for the former Domus spot? Think about how much you would have to sell per month to cover rent, utilities, insurance, employees, etc. It's ridiculous.

The killer for me was the pleasanton hotel. While I do not know the particulars of the lease problems with the person who owns that space, there does seem to be an indication that landlords are not really willing to work with tenants to come up with viable solutions.
Personally I think they are greedy.

I hope pleasanton will be able to maintain its very charming and unique downtown character where we have some very nice small businesses. This is going to be difficult given how unwilling landlords seem to be in making reasonable lease agreements. Personally, I don't know how anything other than a chain could survive downtown in this economy, at least in some of the larger or more prominent spaces.






Posted by Brett Gregory, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 28, 2009 at 8:24 am

Can't afford the rent, property management keeps raising the rent even in this economy! I am going out of business in April.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 28, 2009 at 8:34 am

As the downtown became more "cookie cutter" in what it had to offer (salons, restaurants) and less "unique," I found myself shopping there and dining there less and less. Why line a landlord's pocket?

The empty storefronts are a direct result of unreasonable landlords, their greed, and Pleasanton's lack of leadership in this area.


Posted by Longtime resident, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 28, 2009 at 8:44 am

I agree that the landlords are driving the changes downtown. First is was the landlord at Kollin Hardware, then Domus, and now the Pleasanton Hotel that are driving out the merchants. Pleasanton is not Walnut Creek with chain stores that can operate on slim margins in their businesses due to volume and corporate support. ANd nor would I like it to be like WC.

We need the Council and elected officials to encoruage the landlords to continue building Pleasanton's downtown area in a reasonable fashion with proper,a dn nont excessive returns. Otherwise we will continue losing stores and everyone will end up with a blighted dwontwon experience that will also reduce property values in this extraordinary time.


Posted by Birdland Mom, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 28, 2009 at 9:02 am

I know how you feel. We need to do something to keep our downtown alive! It is what everyone loves about Pleasanton.


Posted by Rae, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 28, 2009 at 10:04 am

Daily I am amazed, delighted, disgusted, and intrigued by the various postings on this blog. Mostly I refrain from input, but I couldn't pass up responding to Downtown Resident.

Have you read any of the hometown news, let alone, blog postings about this issue? Your questions were posted as if you have lived in a bubble and been dropped into the middle of downtown yesterday.

If you're interested in keeping up with what the City Council is doing, sign up for "Electronic City Council Agenda Notification" at (Web Link). If you really want to get involved, you can even provide input to the Council.

If you were a Pleasanton business owner (I'm guessing from your post you are not) you could get involved with the Chamber of Commerce, or any of the other Pleasanton business organizations.

And, of course, Pleasantonians have not been shy on this blog about their feelings on the downtown situation. May I also suggest the following post topics for your review?

"Council calls for quick action on Downtown Stimulus Plan"
"Pleasanton Hotel restaurant to close on New Year's Day"
"Use of empty storefronts"
"Losing two great businesses downtown"
"Businesses Downtown"

There are more, but these were ones that I found. TMI?






Posted by Bruce C, a resident of Mission Park
on Jan 28, 2009 at 10:56 am

We should charge the landlords with empty stores for the lost tax revenue :)


Posted by My Downtown, a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 28, 2009 at 10:57 am

You haven't seen many businesses leaving yet because they have to get someone to take over their expensive leases. The stores that are leaving have already announced that they are leaving to other business owners, the PDA and their landlords in hope that someone will be able to help them find someone interested in taking over their lease. When times were good, there was a long list of people looking for store front space in downtown. We need to remember that the economy is driving many of the issues in our downtown. The best way to support improvements in downtown is to get involved. I'm sure the city council would love to hear from its residents.


Posted by Foobar, a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2009 at 11:08 am

First thing they should do is get a voodoo doll of the greedy landlord who owns the pleasanton hotel's space...


Posted by NO NAME, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 28, 2009 at 11:13 am

I prefer to shop downtown. I don't think of it as "lining a landlord's pocket." I think of it as helping a small business survive. The downtown area employs a lot of Pleasanton residents. The quality of customer service is GREAT downtown. At Christmas time, I needed books for several children, various ages. I went into Towne Center Books and gave Judy the list, and she handpicked books for all the kids. The kids loved the books!! Fleet Feet -- WOW!! Not only are there 300 thread count socks wonderful, but my feet were diagnosed, so to speak, and the proper athletic shoes were recommended. My feet are very happy! I haven't had a bad meal downtown, from Bob's Burgers at one end to Gay 90's. We can all help keep downtown charming by shopping and eating there!


Posted by Tom Kelly, a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Jan 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm

As I mentioned in this blog last week, this is a time when it is in the community's best interest for all of us to work together. Shopping downtown as much as possible certainly helps.

The problem for the community is that if the choices of businesses downtown narrows to banks, hair and beauty salons and restaurants, the reasons for going downtown narrows. My shopping needs are significantly exceed what the downtown offers. I feel we need to become more diverse in the downtown business offerings.

There is no doubt in my mind, that rents in the downtown are inappropriately high for the current economic times. Empty stores create a blight on the neighborhood landscape. They also significantly reduce the city's income. The situation continues to snowball as it feeds on itself. This must be avoided to protect all of our investments. A "vacancy tax" may sound like a "Berkley liberal" idea, however, it would not be necessary if all of us worked together to maintain the quality of life in our city.

As a community we all need to work on this issue, including the landlords of the downtown buildings, the city, the residents and business.

We need reliable public transit to the downtown because of the lack of parking. There are nearly 6,500 businesses based in Pleasanton and they employ the better part of 100,000 people. Most of the people employed by these businesses live outside of Pleasanton. We need a way to introduce these people to the downtown area. Traffic and parking being major obstacles to visiting the downtown prevents many of these people from discovering and enjoying this part of our city. We could use a bus or tram service to go from BART and the Hacienda Business Park to the downtown and back at lunch time or after the work shift.

We need to think differently in these times. It is in all of our best interests.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Well maybe if we had owners from Pleasanton they would care and maybe some are from Pleasanton, but I have heard someone from Danville owns the Pleasanton hotel property and if people from other cities, counties or states own are downtown then we should expect greed as they don't have a stake in downtown. Even if you are a Plesanton owner of property downtown and you sell to someone from out of our city you are selling us out.


Posted by Kristine, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Everytime I drive by the empty Pleasanton Hotel it makes me sad...I miss the big heart glass sculpture in the window, and all the knick knack things that just made it so old fashioned...More importantly I am sad to wonder where all the older folks that came in so regularly are dining now....shame.


Posted by member name I wish, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 28, 2009 at 4:37 pm

The city charges an outrageous overhead! If they wouldn't be so greedy, then maybe our quaint businesses could keep their doors open! The City has created what we are seeing - maybe they will finally get a clue and lower the rents!


Posted by Downtown Fan, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 28, 2009 at 8:50 pm

I can't stress enough how much city council needs to hear all of our voices. It is so true that property owners hold the key. They are the ones that get to choose who goes into their buildings. Within the downtown area we have almost 70 hair/nail salons/spas. We only have 39 retail stores and now we are losing 3 or 4 of them. The city council is looking at ways to change this, but last time the property owners came out in full force and killed all the plans. This time the residents need to let city council know how they feel.

I believe the Pleasanton Hotel was shut down for major renovations.


Posted by Paul Dubois, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2009 at 9:34 pm

I find it strange that some readers have so little a grasp of economics. If the rents are too high for the current economy and location, businesses will move or close and the location will stay empty for a time. Then the owner will realize that some rent is better than no rent and make a more reasonable lease to someone, or sell to someone who thinks he can make a go of it with more efficient practices. There is no "greedy" or "not greedy". The space is a commodity.

Other factors are property taxes, corporate tax rates, utility rates, advertising rates, license fees, payroll taxes, and prevailing wages and the labor supply, to name a few. The miracle of the system is that the actions of many working in their own interest create a balance. Sometimes the cyclic workings of that process produce empty stores for a time.

We, the people, have chosen to make it hard to do business here. We have nearly socialized the process of owning, operating, and renovating property. We are reaping what we have sown.


Posted by I'm to blame, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 28, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I am the Pleasanton resident that likes our downtown to be different and unique. But what do I do downtown?

Shop the Farmers' Market.
Eat downtown once a month.
Window shop.
Have an ice cream cone.

I like the idea of the fun downtown to stroll around, show off to out-of-town friends, sit outside and have lunch. But I honestly don't spend that much $$ at the merchants on Main. Not that I go to the Big Box stores, but my family doesn't need alot of the items sold on Main Street.

It's a shame, but it's true.


Posted by Ytrewq, a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2009 at 11:22 am

Here's a suggestion that might help the downtown shop owners but won't help Pleasanton much. Move to downtown Livermore! (Please no salons or banks). I'm sure the rents are more reasonable and I beleive there are incentive programs available because this is a redevelopment area.


Posted by trekmtb, a resident of Heritage Oaks
on Jan 30, 2009 at 1:23 pm

But then they'ed be in Livermore. Yechhh


Posted by John, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Ytrewq makes a good point here. The downtown shops aren't here as part of the decor. If they are serious about making money (or not losing it) there are alternatives. Livermor's downtown does seem to have some vigor even now. Future alternatives are Dublin's Santana Row type development across from Hacienda Crossings and San Ramon is builing a "downtown" from scratch. We need to be competetive to keep our downtown.


Posted by Amy, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Apr 17, 2009 at 6:40 pm

What happened to the buildings and the shops between 719 and 739 on Main St. It looks like buildings have been torn down?

Amy


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

‘Much Ado’ or is it Adios for ObamaCare?
By Tom Cushing | 37 comments | 1,201 views

Backpacked with care is back
By Roz Rogoff | 2 comments | 535 views