Redwood City has grown leaps and bounds since the beginning of the recession. When I opened my practice in 2010, downtown was called “Deadwood City” and my space was actually vacant for so long that PG&E couldn’t estimate what the past years bills were when I asked. In July of 2010, the city approved what now is called the “Precise Plan” to help get spaces rented that have been vacant. This meant that ground floors could be opened up for office spaces which was great for me since I fell into that category. I was excited to be downtown and loved the old town feel of things. Though I am an considered an office, I see my business as a sort of retail because I do sell merchandise and help out other local businesses by having several people coming in and out each day and do recommend restaurants and other retailer to my patients. High Tech companies unfortunately do not have customers going in and out and they take up the majority of parking spaces in the hard to park city because a high volume of people are not taking Caltrain and driving their cars to work.
Why do High Tech companies have to be on the ground floor? It makes no sense to me. There is more privacy upstairs and you still have access to the Caltrain and other amenities the city has worked hard to put together. Don’t get me wrong, these companies have brought life to downtown but they have also changed the vibe. In past years, family has always been the key point of Redwood City with free music, movies and festivals. Now, families refrain from going downtown because there is no parking and it is becoming too expensive.
If you notice, vacancies are beginning to happen again and the reason for this is because the city allows building owners to charge more to office space rentals. Members of Redwood City thought that if rents increased too much, High Tech companies would be detered. Right now in September of 2015, rent is $5.00 a square foot. The effects of this didn’t effect High Tech but small business owners. I don’t know about you but I don’t think small business owners or retail can afford that type of rent. Building owners are now not renewing leases, putting people on month to month. These are people who have rented for over 30 years! This is so property owners can charge enormous rates and the only people who can afford them are start ups. On Main Street, there is only one retail office (Ralph’s Vacuum). All of the other places are either High Tech, restaurants, or Salons. Most business owners that I know are either hopping in on other businesses and sharing rents or moving out of the area all together. I like High Techs and I get a lot of patients from them however, with the decrease of parking spaces and hustle and bustle of downtown, some of my other patients are frustrated with how long it takes to get to see me.
For those of you who love the way Redwood City is now, just know that there is a price to pay for all of this and it is the momma poppa stores that gave Redwood City its flare.