Be Careful What You Wish For
-- Fewer Jewelry Stores?
By Ed Purvis
May 22, 2007
With over 20 years experience managing commercial properties
in the downtown area, I believe that I can say with some authority
that the ballot initiative to limit the number of jewelry stores
downtown and in Newtown is ill conceived. If approved into
law, there is no doubt that our downtown shopping area will suffer
year-round empty and un-rentable space on every block as leases
expire and change of occupancy is required. This, in contrast
to seasonally absent shop owners who come each year to paint
and clean and make presentable our entire downtown. Yes, I know
they leave in October and it looks pretty lonesome all winter,
but these tenants pay rent, taxes, fuel, and maintenance all
year to keep their location ready for future seasons. Many
of these seasonal jewelry store owners have purchased homes,
condos and duplexes in Ketchikan and again, they pay for fuel,
maintenance, property taxes on all these properties YEAR-ROUND.
My question to those who support
this change is simply; who will take their place in all this
retail space? And what products do you envision replacing the
existing merchandise that you want gone? One is hard pressed
to find local folks willing to make the investment in time and
money and commit to year-round lease payments in the downtown
area. Believe me, I've tried, and I have several empty spaces
in prime locations at reduced rent right now. The statement
offered by the proponents that we want "more diversification"
and a "more interesting" downtown to offer residents
and visitors is a statement of faith without substance in my
opinion. We cannot afford to experiment with the concept of
"if it's empty, they will come", especially when we
are endangering an existing economy that is working well now.
I ask how you would feel if you planned to open a legal business
in an area zoned for that legal business and were then told that
it cannot happen because there is already another legal business
selling the same product on the same block. This borders on
being unconstitutional and is definitely biased with prejudice.
I wonder how the building owner will feel when he has several
empty stores in the former busy downtown tourist zone and he
cannot find a tenant that suits the new ordinance? I really
wonder how the tax assessor will deal with the decline in downtown
property values due to falling revenues from these same buildings
that recently underwent a very large increase in assessed valuation.
Yes, the jewelry stores have driven the rent higher, but that
is a good thing for the economy of our entire town. At present,
it does seem that there are too many, but that will take care
of itself as the less successful choose not to come back as some
already have. To legislate what kind of business can or cannot
exist in a business district based solely on how much competition
exists for that business in suicidal for this town and our economy.
"We just want our town back"... Hey, in case you
haven't noticed, logging is over the pulp mill is gone there
is no spruce mill in town. We have tourism and we should be
out there courting the whole of this industry instead of trying
to discourage it through passing unenforceable and restrictive
legislation. Please think this through before helping to get
it on the ballot.
Received May 21, 2007 - Published May 22, 2007
About: "Twenty five year
resident of Ketchikan. Builder, Developer and currently Commercial
Property Manager with Waterfall Property Management"
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
Citizens' group asks, "What fate
do we choose for our community?" - Citizens for Ketchikan's Future (CKF), a newly
formed citizens' group, has submitted a voters' initiative to
the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Clerk's office to limit the density
of stores exclusively selling jewelry within the City of Ketchikan.
Upon approval by the Borough Clerk, the group will collect the
required signatures of the 533 registered voters necessary to
have the item placed on the regular October ballot. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2007
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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