Will the landmark maxipad sign still remain?
Cohen goes on to say that gyms and real estate offices produce no sales tax. How long did it take to notice that? We have art galleries that are open eight hours a week. Clothing boutiques open by appointment. How much tax and foot traffic do they bring in?
Prime retail spots were suddenly snapped up by real estate offices and a physical therapy business, meaning no sales tax revenue for the city, and fewer shops to draw visitors and residents to the neighborhood.
“There’s nothing wrong with these businesses, but the problem is they don’t produce any sales tax,” Cohen says. “They could be put on side streets. They don’t have to take up valuable retail space.”
The Economic Development Commission voted 8-0 in October in favor of limiting how many offices, real estate agencies, medical clinics and gyms could occupy first-floor locations on Lighthouse Avenue. The move is not without precedent: After a spate of thrift shop and consignment store openings a few years ago, the commission and others convinced the City Council to pass an ordinance in 2015 limiting the number to two thrift shops on Lighthouse, and 12 total downtown.