Council to hear results of South Shore retail study |

Council to hear results of South Shore retail study

Susan Wood

The city is losing retail sales amounting to $219 million a year or 60 percent of the retail demand, according to a consultant’s study to be presented today at the South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting. The item is scheduled for discussion at 1:30 p.m.

In other business, the council will hold a public hearing on the disbanding of the Tourism Promotion Business Improvement District and will hear the second round of a redevelopment financing plan that would triple the property tax revenue cap of $150 million.

From a business and sales tax point of view, many have waited to learn where the city stands in terms of retail and revenue generated from it.

The retail analysis by RRC Associates provides some findings for planning purposes. For example, if the city were to take measures to recapture 35 percent of the alleged lost sales to other areas, it would require an increase of 465,000 square feet of retail square footage. And gaining a quarter of the sales would require 386,000 square feet.

“This tells us we need to do a lot more,” City Manager Dave Jinkens said.

City Economic Development Coordinator Camden Collins, who oversaw the contracted study, agreed.

“If we were to improve our vacancy rate by at least 5 percent, we’d see a little difference, but it wouldn’t go far enough to sustain the retail demand,” she said.

The retail categories of largest need over the next 20 years include those selling general merchandise, in which 121,804 of square feet should be developed. The study had surmised $63 million is lost, or “leaked,” to mass merchandisers outside the city. Home furnishings, appliance and auto parts stores may also be targeted as an under-developed retail segment, the study added.

The study also indicates aggregate spending is almost evenly split by visitors and locals, 51 and 49 percent, respectively. And not surprisingly, eating and drinking establishments cater to the visitors, while home furnishings and auto-related shops dominate the locals’ spending habits.

Further, the study’s analysis of income shows households in three brackets under $25,000 have lessened to at least 20 percent in the last 10 years. This is despite the median income in the city rising by almost $10,000 to $34,707, according to the 2000 Census. Meanwhile, higher income brackets have seen a dramatic jump in households. In particular, households raking in more than $150,000 have increased 237.8 percent from 1989 to 2000.

South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting

9 a.m. today

Council Chambers

1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd. South Lake Tahoe

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