Recap of 11/3 Town Center meeting
Updated: Jan 14
Century Communities' Dean Mills, Keith McCoy and consultants James Edison and Greg Findley attended the 11/3/22 meeting on commercial development at East Garrison. They presented an overview of their "high level" retail survey, though when questioned it turns out there were several points they didn't consider. The next step is for the County's consultant to review the survey - we are working with Sup Wendy Root Askew's office to get our input to that person.
Here are some notes of the meeting. If you attended please add your thoughts, and no matter what, please post your questions at the bottom of this blog!
Meeting Recap 11/3/22 10:00 - Noon
Keith McCoy (Urban Mix) and Dean Mills (Century Communities), Greg Findley (commercial real estate expert) and James Edwards (economist who did retail survey).
McCoy reported that he hopes the revised plan will be revealed at the 11/17 meeting. He said it will include at least some changes from the 10/25 meeting that were on post-its or mentioned.
Size of the Town Center:
Per the 2004 Specific Plan the developer is obligated to provide 34,000 sq. ft.of building for retail and public use (the 4,000 sq. ft. library is included in the 34,000 sq.ft.). However, Century proposes to build 17,500 sq. ft. of Town Center retail because their retail survey from James Edwards indicates our community cannot support 34,000 sq.ft.of retail. The land not used for commercial use would become housing.
Here’s what the various meeting presenters said:
● They did a high-level "rentable retail survey", the largest viable retail space East Garrison could support would be 11,000 sq. ft. To get an idea what that looks like, consider the following sq. ft. estimates:
● Coffee shop 500 - 1,000 sq. ft.
● Restaurant 1,000 - 1,500
● Nail salon or similar 500 - 600
● Convenience store 1,500 - 2,000
● Market 10,000 - 15,000 (Trader Joes is about 20,000 sq. ft.)
● Big retailers won’t come to EG - too far from major road, there are other big stores nearby
● Something as big as Trader Joes is not practical. It would use up most of our space, and we could have hundreds of cars per day from outside shoppers needing parking.
● Better to have fewer stores doing well than empty storefronts. Viable stores support each other
Q: Has industrial development which will happen near the airport in just a few years been considered?
A: No, future industrial development was not considered.
Q: Has tourism in Ft Ord National monument been considered?
A: No, tourism was not considered
Q: Has the draw of the complete community, including the arts district been considered?
A: That wouldn’t make a difference
Q: Have they considered what small retailers look for?
A: That’s a different calculation
Q: Will sales tax from businesses will go to pay off our Facilities Bond or otherwise support EG?
How the Town Center will look
Currently the revised Century Development design has the following components:
● A 3-story building at Sherman at East Garrison Drive (retail with Arts Space affordable housing above)
● A 4-story building at Sherman x Ord Ave (retail with affordable artist housing above)
● NOTE: the chapel is only 20 ft higher than Sherman, so anything taller than a one-story will block the view of the chapel and from the chapel. If this is important to you - let us know!
● ArtSpace will be the designer, developer and landlord. Century will do construction. A separate property management company will be hired to rent out, manage and operate the residential and commercial spaces. Commercial areas will be open to any retailers.
Chicken and the Egg:
All our guests agreed that we need a building planned, and perhaps under construction, before they can get tenants, but that tenants will change the type of building. They said the larger and more open the space, the better - so the original plan with 4 separate buildings limits who the tenants are. Better to build a more concentrated “cold shell”. We said it’s the chicken and egg, cause we need a magnet store to get the thing going. Dean Mills of Century, when asked directly “if we can find a magnet, will you help us?” said Century will “be supportive”.