proposed Almaden Ranch Retail Center, the council unanimously agreed to amend the municipal code allow non-retail uses to occupy street level commercial spaces.
In other words if the space that was previously a market, restaurant, or phone store has been vacant the first of the year, other commercial retail uses will be allowed to occupy the space such as banks, law offices, or real estate offices.
New York has mandated that retail business occupy street level retail since 1975 and accounts for some of the city's amazing vitality at almost all hours of the day or night. (New York City Mandates Street Retail).
Traditionally cities want street level retail to create activity and vibrancy at the street level. To quote, or more likely paraphrase an over-quoted Jane Jacobs, all that street level activity puts more" eyes on the street".
Although this will help to alleviate some possible blight in a downtown that already has too many walls, fences, moats, and asphalt, it is just the other side of the coin given overbuilt auto-oriented retail in new spaces like, the Plant, San Jose Market Place, @First, Santana Row, and now the Almaden Ranch Retail Center. By creating large amounts of big box retail with free parking, it will always be more convenient to shop in these mega-malls than shopping downtown. Even residents living downtown will find it easier to drive to the Plant with all of it capacity, than to shop Walgreens and the Ross store downtown.
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