BBC -- Big Break Coming...for Downtown | On a Roll | Paul Bendix | Almanac Online |

Local Blogs

On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

E-mail Paul Bendix

About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

View all posts from Paul Bendix

BBC -- Big Break Coming...for Downtown

Uploaded: Feb 12, 2014
It's good news for downtown Menlo Park and great news for the region...a landmark establishment that has long 'anchored' our retail district is on the way back. The British Bankers Club has had a checkered history, but its potential was always clear. Now, with an experienced restauranteur at the helm, and planning permission complete, our downtown has a chance to regroup...and rebuild.

And why should anyone cheer for one particular retail business? After all, enterprises don't need our help to succeed...do they?

Well, yes and no. This is our community. There's a reason why we have a Planning Commission. There's a reason why we have planning. The question, of course, is what are we planning for? How can our downtown work best for everyone...businesses, shoppers, citizens?

Each of us has a different answer. And that answer keeps evolving. But a revitalized BBC plays to downtown Menlo Park's current strengths. And what are they?

By a mixture of accident and design, Menlo Park has a center. Key retail streets and major suburban thoroughfares – road and rail – converge at one spot. An inviting outdoor café, a famous bookstore and the distinctive BBC are all right there. There is a potential for great synergy.

There may be potential for even more. The renovated BBC's rooftop deck particularly intrigues me. After all, with property values constantly rising, property uses have to head in the same direction. Downtown Menlo Park does have other rooftops, after all.

Finally, a friend who is a retail planning consultant sees two important lessons from the 25-year-old Menlo Center which adjoins the BBC. Both lessons involve setbacks. In one case, opening up the space for a café has worked beautifully. In the other, setting the retail frontage well back from El Camino Real, has not worked at all. The opportunities for windowshopping and general curb appeal get lost, according to my friend. Retail development needs a certain density to excite shoppers, it seems. More on this soon.
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.

Email:

SUBMIT

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Get the most important local news stories sent straight to your inbox daily.

All-day Indian cafe opens in Redwood City with a focus on takeout
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 12,763 views

Menlo Park Now Has A Tremendous Opportunity to Transform Its Downtown
By Dana Hendrickson | 19 comments | 4,691 views

Polar vortexes and clean energy in the Upper Midwest
By Sherry Listgarten | 4 comments | 3,835 views

Union demands too many: Open up the schools now!
By Diana Diamond | 13 comments | 2,948 views

Premarital and Couples: What Happens in Vegas Doesn't Stay in Vegas
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,842 views

 

Submit your story today

The 35th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Submit your short story here by April 2 (online submissions only). Stories must be 2,500 words or less. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details