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Mountain View's Downtown Committee mulls how to support its retailers

Original post made on Mar 1, 2022

Walking down Castro Street on a recent Monday afternoon between the lunch and dinner crowds, it was easy to see why Mountain View's Downtown Committee is interested in discussing how the city can help downtown's small businesses.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 1, 2022, 11:31 AM

Comments (12)

Posted by Me
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 1, 2022 at 1:51 pm

Me is a registered user.

Yeah, it's all Amazon's fault: it has nothing to do with all the streets in front of those retailers being closed, and parking being a nightmare in downtown MV long before that.

Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 1, 2022 at 2:31 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

I never have issues parking downtown but why isn’t state of CA doing something about frivolous ADA lawsuits which target ONLY small businesses without the means to fight back. Also landlords keep jacking up rents, tenants leave. TAP Plastics had a reasonable landlord 30+ years, the son took over jacked up rent so TAP moved to one of their other locations, landlord shot himself in the foot. Place has been empty for YEARS now (pre COVID). Idiot. I hear that story over and over, the greedy entitled kids take over and have no business sense

Posted by RL
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 1, 2022 at 3:07 pm

RL is a registered user.

Rents are far too high for any small business. And that serial ADA suer took away sooo much of our downtown. City council should put less of their efforts towards window displays and instead work on making downtown more affordable and welcoming for new businesses.

Posted by smorr
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 1, 2022 at 3:09 pm

smorr is a registered user.

In the article it says: "Another problem with some vacant spaces is that the lease rates being asked are 'for way more money than what the market bears,' Lang said."
Seems foolish of the landlords to be holding out for more money than they're going to get and having the store empty. I also wonder what can be done about the frivolous ADA lawsuits (as opposed to legitimate ones) brought by the same person. Is there some way for the court to declare them nuisance lawsuits and not take them? Or, if not possible, is there a way for the city or the community to band together to support the store owners who are being targeted so that the cost doesn't fall on each of them individually and put them out of business?

Posted by Johnny Yuma
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 1, 2022 at 3:31 pm

Johnny Yuma is a registered user.

“The addiction to Amazon?” You must be kidding. I enjoy shopping on Amazon because of the convenience, 24-hours-a-day shopping, and availability of goods.

From time-to-time, I’ve attempted to purchase from local businesses to discover that they don’t have the product I need or have horrible customer service. Why should I drive all over hell to say that I’ve purchased from a local business?

From the comfort of my home, Amazon enables me to easily find what I need and return it if not satisfied. The fact is, for many local businesses, their days are numbered. It’s a different world.

Posted by Seth Neumann
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 1, 2022 at 4:09 pm

Seth Neumann is a registered user.

sadly most surviving retail is going to have to be local services that people won't drive for or "destination" retail therapy. There's a lot of competition from the likes of Santana Row and Stanford Shopping center for the later. Realistically a lot of the retail was in decline pre-pandemic and isn't coming back.

The frivolous law suits don't help the small business people: a city plan to help merchants mitigate the real ADA deficiencies and indemnify them against frivolous lawsuits might help!

Can some of the unused space be converted to much needed housing (without changing the character of residential neighborhoods)? We certainly don't need yet more jobs, creating yet more demand for non-existent housing!

Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 1, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Isn't the obvious thing to just allow many more homes to be built above the buildings on Castro and in the neighborhoods within several blocks? More residents means more customers. It's absurd that it's illegal to build any apartments so close to a major city destination, while the downtown businesses are suffering.

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 1, 2022 at 4:35 pm

SRB is a registered user.

City should treat all these empty store fronts as blight. And then mandate landlords to keep these storefronts at least attractive (lights on at night so that we don't have so many dark spots on Castro and a nice display to promote local organizations, local artists....).
This might not solve the vacancy issues but at least Castro won't have so many eyesores.

Posted by Sandy Burgan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 1, 2022 at 4:38 pm

Sandy Burgan is a registered user.

It is time for dispensaries to be allowed on Castro Street. They will generate foot traffic and revenue for the city.

Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 1, 2022 at 5:42 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

Decorating empty storefronts is equivalent of lipstick on a pig.

Posted by jb
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 2, 2022 at 8:00 am

jb is a registered user.

Not mentioned in this discussion is one reason we don't see new businesses moving in: the City use permits process is painfully slow and very expensive. Landlords on Castro have had interested renters, but when they find out how long it will take and how much money it costs just to open up, they choose to open their businesses in other cities that lower that barrier.

That's an important barrier to remove.

Posted by Bean
a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 4, 2022 at 1:47 pm

Bean is a registered user.

The prop 13 protected NIMBYs should use those giant tax subsidies and send it on these retailers instead of ordering from Amazon.

Or we can just build a tonne of housing on top of these stores which means a tonne more customers for these stores.

Oh sorry, did I make too much sense?

This is what happens when you NIMBY and turn shelter into a retirement plan.

It destroys economies in the long run.

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