Last week I had posted that one of the biggest problems I have seen with recent projects downtown is that they have so many amenities in-house that employees and visitors have no need to leave the facility (MedCity). This is something I have heard echoed many times during City Council meetings.
The downtown desperately needs this foot traffic to support the commercial tax base and the City Council should limit, maybe even prohibit, any eating facilities in new developments. In particular the former Telegram facility that at one time had plans for a 5,000 square foot cafeteria should not be permitted. Not sure, however, if this is still in the plans?
Ironically last night at City Council:
#Worcester City Council gives green light for small cafe operation on first floor of City Hall, in parternship with Seven Hills Foundation.
— Nick Kotsopoulos (@NCKotsopoulos) May 14, 2014
Let me get a few things off the table, before I am accused of hating Seven Hills:
- Seven Hills is a great foundation
- This will be a small operation and will not have multi-million dollar sales
- They will, however, have sales and will take away from the surrounding businesses
How does the City Council ask new developments not to have in-house eateries/coffee stands to promote downtown traffic, when they themselves will have one? More importantly every two years everyone running for City Councilor says the buzz words “business friendly”.
Assume you are the owner of one of the two coffee franchises, that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase, on the corner directly across from City Hall and have :
- lost business with new bus routes
- received increased water and sewer bills
- received increased property tax bills
- just found out City Hall will be opening their own coffee stand that will pay not rent or water and sewer bills
Would you consider the City as being “business friendly”?
Lastly I go into both of these family owned franchises and I would guarantee you that they would work with Seven Hills and integrate some of their employees into their operation, rather then have a tax-subsidized competition in City Hall. Before we open this stand, maybe we should talk to the two businesses, any business for that matter, to see if they want to work with Seven Hills versus opening this stand??
As an alternative, we should consider a stand to greet people, pass out information, give directions, etc without selling any products? This would be a welcome addition walking into the street level of City Hall. Strongly oppose, however, the selling of any items that surrounding commercial tax base are marketing.
We can work with Seven Hills, provide valuable experience for their clients and be “business friendly” at the same time.