As the city considers new development on Beach Boulevard, the business community on nearby Palmetto Avenue says it hopes that any new beachfront developments will attract additional customers to its neck of town.
The city is considering relocating City Hall from its location on Santa Maria Avenue to an old building that currently stands vacant, located at 2212 Beach Blvd. The building is the former home of the Sharp Park Sewer Plant.
Some residents have come out against this proposal, saying the lure of a beachfront city hall is the primary drive behind the project.
Others, such as City Councilman Cal Hinton, said that if only a fraction of the 3.2-acre site is occupied by city hall, plenty of room is still available for revenue-generating, private development, such as a hotel.
He said such a proposal would spur retail development on Palmetto, which runs parallel to and directly east of Beach Boulevard.
Pacifica Chamber of Commerce CEO Don Eagleston said the chamber has always been in support of a hotel with a conference center at the former sewer plant site since the idea was proposed some eight years ago.
Eagleston agreed that more business from city employees or tourists on Palmetto Avenue would be a welcome change, but that more than simply developing Beach Boulevard would need to be done — projects such as widening the sidewalk, changing the light posts and making Palmetto Avenue more like a promenade — before that can happen.
“Until Palmetto becomes revitalized, we’ll just have to wait until something significant is approved there before thinking about that whole business district,” Eagleston said of the approximately six-block set of stores on that side of town.
Employees from one of these stores, Florey’s Book Company, said that business at the store, which is a 30-year city staple, is not going as well as they would like.
Twelve-year veteran employee Aaron Schlieve said that the independent shop had taken a hit from their competition from major retailers and online booksellers. Most of its regular customers are Pacifica residents, but Schlieve said additional foot traffic is needed on Palmetto.
“Places like Half Moon Bay have Main Street — really developed downtowns that people are walking on all the time,” Schlieve said. “Pacifica doesn’t really have that, and Palmetto especially has very little foot traffic.”
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