The Neiman Marcus project in Walnut Creek's tony Broadway Plaza has been repealed by the city council.
The move came in response from Macerich, the plaza's owners, which came in response to 5,000 residents signing a petition to put a referendum on the ballot to cancel the project (Nardi, 2008, ¶ 3). Has Walnut Creek effectively jeopardized a potential tax bonanza and a dashed the hopes of local residents for a uber upscale department store that side of the bay?
But who is behind this move? No one seems to know and downtown merchants don't even care (Nardi, 2008, ¶ 6). But shouldn't we be concerned when no one takes responsibility for paying signature gatherers to rally voters?
The reasoning for the petition came under the guise of parking issues. But the parking situation only worsened when everyone else moved in after years of downtown redevelopment. Simply put, if Macerich expanded the mall and no one could get there, they'd be pretty motivated to remedy the problem on their own. Besides, how much traffic can Neiman Marcus create? With retailers begging for traffic, I'd figure the downtown merchants association would welcome deep-pocketed shoppers with open arms.
Macerich is expected to resubmit a new plan for the Neiman Marcus project. However, until that happens and with the current economic conditions, it just may not occur.
Nardi, E. (2008). Neiman Marcus project repealed. Oakland Tribune. Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20081216/ai_n31134890?tag=content;col1