You’re absolutely correct, “It Wasn’t Inevitable.” (See Comments for “Fixing the Many Problems at Allied Arts,” dated June 10, 2007, in Town Square Forums.) The Palo Alto volunteers fully expected they would continue operation of their restaurant, and in late 2006 had been “assured” by Woodside-Atherton’s president that the Christmas Holidays were too busy a time to discuss a new lease, and that such discussions would take place in the new year. At no time was closure of the restaurant mentioned. When Palo Alto noted that a month-to-month lease would suffice until a new lease was written, Woodside-Atherton agreed to extend the lease on that basis through February 2007. When Palo Alto had not yet seen a new lease from Woodside in early January 2007 and asked for a further extension, Jean Coblentz, president of the Woodside Auxiliary, stated in a January 15, 2007 e-mail…..
“It will not be possible to extend your lease beyond the end of February as we are making other plans for the spaces you now occupy.”
Obviously, at that time, they had already made arrangements with Jesse Cool to open her restaurant at Allied Arts in the space used by Palo Alto for 75 years. Coblentz later rationalized this act as a “necessary pruning” of “unprofitable tenants.” Apparently Jesse Cool couldn’t make a profit either, so who’s next Ms. Coblentz? McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell?
If Woodside-Atherton had done a better job of bringing visitors to the Allied Arts complex, they would have had many “profitable” tenants. But they didn’t. They killed bus traffic for tours to Allied Arts by redoing the parking lot so buses couldn’t turn around. They mismanaged the “special event” business (weddings and other private events that Palo Alto had been forced to give to them under the terms of a lease signed after the property was renovated) to the extent that it became nonexistent. They never recognized that they needed to increase foot-traffic on site in order for all tenants to prosper, or if it was recognized, efforts were ineffective.
Please, Allied Arts Auxiliary members, stop stating that Palo Alto voluntarily closed their restaurant and left the complex. You terminated them. Whatever that loss means to the future of Allied Arts is your responsibility. Stop trying to imply or state otherwise ....... especially you, menlomomx2.