Monday, September 28, 2009

999 Grant is back on the market.

News from the Novato Advance that Catlin properties has given up on it's proposed mixed use development at 999 Grant Avenue in Novato and has put the planned project up for sale.

Occupying a prime site at the intersection of Grant Ave and Redwood Blvd, the developers failed to attract any interest for the 10,000 sq.ft of retail space, which was initially offered at $4 per sq.ft - which is almost twice the going rate for retail space in the area.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekly news roundup

In San Rafael there is a public hearing tonight (9-21) at 8.00pm where the City Council will be discussing the proposed Mi Pueblo grocery store at 330 Bellam Blvd.

If you want to have your say on the revised plans for the relocation of Corbett's ACE Hardware store to 800 Magnolia in Larkspur, there's a Planning Commission hearing September 22nd.

In Novato, All Star party rentals has relocated from Grant Avenue to Olive Avenue. Meanwhile, eleven stores on Grant Avenue have signed up for Novato Redevelopment Agency's Grant Avenue Facade Development Program. The program provides up to half the cost of improvements to the building's exterior.

The renovation of Northgate continues on schedule, with the grand opening of Kohl's planned for Sept 30th. In case you missed it, the latest announcement of new stores to take space in the mall includes a 2-level, 28,000 sq.ft Forever 21, and new-to-Marin fashion stores Hot Topic (think Twilight T-shirts) and North Bay shoe retailer Sole Desire.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marin retail sector shrinks below 2002/03 levels

Retail sales in Marin are now lower than they were during the last economic slowdown. In 2002-03, following the tech crash, the annual value of taxable retail sales in the county fell to $2.85 billion. In the following five years, the economy recovered and sales increased to a peak of $3.3bn at the beginning of 2007. Today, just two years later, that gain has been reversed, and retail sales are heading fast towards levels not seen since the 1990s.
The chart above shows trailing 12-months taxable retail sales and the average annual % change for Marin County. The estimate is based on data released by the California State Board of Equalization, which tracks the 1% of taxable retail sales that are distributed to local cities and counties where the retail sales are originated. Trailing 12-months sales are now -14% down from the previous year, with most of this impact occuring in the last few months: June 2009 distributions were -29.8% lower than June 2008, -18.2% lower for July 2009 and -24.1% lower for August 2009.

Marin’s experience matches the US trend. Retail sales data released by the US Census Bureau today show that retail sales dropped sharply earlier this year, although the 5.3% y-o-y decline in sales for August may be an indicator that the worst is over.

Several of Marin’s cities will be hoping that sales don’t fall much farther because retail sales tax provides a large slice of their income. In August 2009, the 1% sales tax distributed to the City of San Rafael was down 28% or $350,000 from August 2008; Novato declined by 22.4% ($125,000), and Corte Madera was down 19.4% ($78,000).