Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Addendum

Posted By on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 11:57 AM

courtesy of Adbusters

courtesy of Adbusters

Around the time this week's Black Friday story hit the presses, someone pointed out that Nov. 28 is also " Buy Nothing Day ," a day of protest against consumerism, originally founded by Vancouver artist Ted Dave and later promoted by Adbusters magazine.

Adbusters suggests:

As the planet starts heating up, maybe it’s time to finally go cold turkey. Take the personal challenge by locking up your debit card, your credit cards, your money clip, and see what it feels like to opt out of consumer culture completely, even if only for 24 hours. Like the millions of people who have done this fast before you, you may be rewarded with a life-changing epiphany.

So, before you head out to buy local and indie , you might want to consider staying home today to eat leftovers. (And no shopping online either.)

There's also a parallel Buy Nothing Christmas movement, founded by Mennonites .

They supply this song , "Buy Nothing At All" by Joel Kroeker

Addendum 2 : Relatively good news for those like Bayshore Mall manager Sue Swanson, who own stock in General Growth Properties , the company that owns the mall:

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday:

General Growth Properties Inc.'s battered shares have nearly doubled, after hedge fund manager William Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management disclosed that it has acquired a 7.5 percent stake in the financially struggling Chicago-based mall operator.

I'm not sure that a partial purchase by a hedge fund solves the company's problems, and there's no word on negotiations regarding the $900 mill note due today on GGP's Vegas properties. We'll have to wait and see what happens next.

Addendum 3: There's an early present available for those like Councilman Larry Glass, who've been eagerly awaiting the EIR for the Marina Project. Yes, as Heraldo points out , it's here .

You'll have to do some downloading if you want to read the whole thing, but after the jump we'll give you the portion of the EIR that relates most directly to topics addressed in the Black Friday story and the potential impact on local retailers.

Spoiler alert: We're guessing the EIR will be much debated in the weeks to come, but the conclusion re: contribution to urban decay is as follows:

The potential for the Marina Center project, in conjunction with other development, to result in urban decay in the greater Eureka area would be less-than-significant, and the project would not make a cumulatively considerable contribution to cumulative urban decay impacts.

Section P: Urban Decay

Project Impact P-1: Would the Marina Center project result in urban decay in the Retail Trade area?

Generally, the economic and social effects of a proposed project are not considered by CEQA. (CEQA Guidelines Section 15131 (a)). Where economic or social effects of a proposed project will directly or indirectly lead to an adverse physical change in the environment, then CEQA requires disclosure of the resulting physical impacts (CEQA Guidelines Section 15064(e)). Economic or social changes need not be analyzed in any detail greater than necessary to ascertain what physical changes may occur as a result of economic or social changes (CEQA Guidelines Section 15131 (a)). Here, the potential impact of vacancy leading to urban decay would be a physical change that would need to be addressed.

Urban decay is physical deterioration that is so prevalent and substantial it impairs the proper utilization of affected real estate or the health, safety, and welfare of the surrounding community (CBRE, 2006). Urban decay can be caused when the competitive effects of a commercial development project are so severe that other stores can be expected to close as a result of the proposed development and that the buildings containing those stores anticipated to close will not be re-tenanted or reused within a reasonable time but will remain vacant and lead to the decline of other real estate.

The CBRE Consulting analysis determined that the site is currently in a state of urban decay and negatively impacts the surrounding neighborhood, including the Historic Old Town district that borders the project site at C Street. The proposed project would be beneficial to the project site and prevent it from going into further decay. Cleaning up and redeveloping the land would be an improvement over its current state.

In Humboldt County in November 2007, there was a total of 5.1 million square feet of retail inventory with only 121,590 square feet vacant (CBRE, 2007), which has increased by roughly 100,000 square feet with the recent or soon to be 2008 closings of Hancock Fabrics, Gap Stores, Old Navy, and Mervyn’s. McMahan’s Furniture was not included in the vacancy figures as the opening of a newly constructed furniture retailer at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Fifth Street occurred in early 2008. However, despite the increase in vacancy, the overall vacancy rate in Humboldt County remains very low at about 4 percent, which indicates a countywide tight retail market with very low vacancy rates. Brokers working in Eureka have been able to re-tenant smaller vacancies as they occur.

The Bayshore Mall, the largest shopping mall in Humboldt County, houses the majority of recently vacated retail space due to the past and pending closings of apparel retailers Old Navy, The Gap, and the primarily apparel oriented Mervyn’s department store. However, due to the low vacancy rate and lack of large, adequately parked retail spaces in the county, it is not expected that these store closings will lead to long term vacancies as evidenced by past vacancies that have been quickly re-tenanted at this particular property. Therefore, sufficient retailer demand is anticipated to exist to absorb vacated space in the event that existing Humboldt County retailers close due to any negative economic impacts of the Marina Center project, and/or other identified planned projects (CBRE, 2006).

One of the primary conditions leading to urban decay, existing high vacancy rates and long retenanting times, is not present in Humboldt County. While the Marina Center project could result in some existing store closures, the low vacancy rates of existing shopping centers indicates stable performance and the ability to re-tenant smaller vacancies as they occur.

In the event that Anchor 1 itself is vacated, it is likely that it would be re-tenanted because large format retail space in Humboldt County has been quickly re-tenanted in the past and certain large format stores have expressed interest in entering the Humboldt County market. In addition, the space for Anchor 1 has been designed so that it could be broken into three smaller spaces of 20,000 to 40,000 square feet and more easily re-tenanted. As a result, potential project vacancies would be unlikely to cause physical deterioration in the area.

Because the proposed project and its associated infrastructure improvements would not create or maintain urban decay and would instead eliminate the conditions for urban decay, the project would result in a less-than-significant impact.

Mitigation None recommended.

Finding of Significance The potential for the Marina Center project to result in urban decay in the greater Eureka area would be less-than-significant.

Cumulative Impacts Impact P-2: Would the Marina Center project, in conjunction with other development, result in urban decay in the area?

For the purposes of evaluating the cumulative impacts of the project on urban decay, the EIR considers not just the projects in the Eureka area, but also the addition of a business park in Redway, a newly constructed retail shopping center in Fortuna with a general merchandise/drug store (Walgreen’s), restaurants, financial services, and small scale service retail, and a planned large-scale regional shopping center containing a general merchandise store (Wal-Mart) and home improvement store (Lowes) in Fortuna which would directly compete with the project’s Home Depot anchor store. Humboldt County has a very low vacancy rate for commercial space. While a competing general merchandise and home improvement store in Fortuna would divert sales from Eureka, there does not appear to be any cumulative impact from the project and other proposed or approved projects that would result in physical deterioration considered prevalent and substantial in the community. In keeping with the low retail vacancies in Humboldt County, two recently closed building material and garden supply spaces in Fortuna were re-tenanted in a reasonable amount of time (CBRE, 2006). When considered cumulatively with other potential future development in Eureka and the vicinity, the proposed project would not result in significant cumulative impacts.

Mitigation None recommended.

Finding of Significance The potential for the Marina Center project, in conjunction with other development, to result in urban decay in the greater Eureka area would be less-than-significant, and the project would not make a cumulatively considerable contribution to cumulative urban decay impacts.

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Bob Doran

Bob Doran

Freelance photographer and writer, Arts and Entertainment editor from 1997 to 2013.

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