There is a bright spot on the 10th and C block of Orange Avenue (which has been referred to as the Assemblage) where we’ve recently seen two businesses in trouble – Island Surf closed and El Cordova Garage lost its lease. The Coronado Times has learned that two locally-owned businesses within the Assemblage, Bungalow 56 and Nicolls Design Build, have successfully renegotiated their leases with Kleege Enterprises.
Coronadans have expressed many emotions over the months since the sale took place. For the most part, they seem concerned about three issues: the potential for destruction of the buildings that hold so much history; the loss of locally-owned businesses; and the possibility that any new businesses (locally- owned or not) will cater to tourists rather than to local needs.
Upon hearing of El Cordova losing its lease, a number of individuals took to social media to bemoan the loss of the historical building – there was even talk of a petition. However, there is no clear evidence that Kleege intends to demolish the building. And, as we reported earlier when considering what might be done with some of the historic buildings that make up part of the Assemblage, the city has strict regulations. As Chamber of Commerce’s Sue Gillingham remarked for an earlier article, the City of Coronado Orange Avenue Corridor Specific Plan restrictions are “not for the faint of heart.”
The second and third issues have now been at least partly refuted by the successful renegotiation by the Nicolls family.
Kraig Nicolls, owner of Nicolls Design Build, talked about small entrepreneurs being caught between a rock and a hard place. He pointed out that while landlords want market rents, it can be hard for a business to afford it when certain types of development that could help make them more profitable are restricted by the city, by requiring, for instance, additional parking spaces.
Another local business owner, who preferred to remain unnamed given the uncertainty in the environment, noted a similar problem. That owner showed me plans that would have further developed the business and would have been expected to add revenue. However, the city denied the request for changes unless additional parking could be added.
So, while some small, locally owned businesses are still hanging on, it might take a concerted effort to look at city restrictions that could be hampering them. Certainly, if the primary businesses that can afford office fronts on or near Orange Avenue are real estate firms and banks, locals might well end up feeling underserved.
Until we know more, we will continue to report news as it comes in.
Meanwhile, there is a strong call for supporting the local businesses that you want to keep by visiting them and spending your money there.