Editor’s note: Howard Levine, executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association, has commented here, providing a solid economic analysis of the state of the downtown, in response to reader queries. Thanks Howard!
“The facts are approximate, but these are the statistics. The GVDA has about 600,000 sq. ft of first and second floor rentable space (adding in the Gold Miners Inn, Holiday Inn retail area). Currently, there is about 2,200 sq. ft available at 130 E. Main where Dena’s on Main was, maybe 1,500 sq. ft. where Passe used to be at the end of E. Main (they are now by the clock), about 1,000 sq. ft. of usable space on Bank Street under Sole Mates. Upstairs there is a larger space, 200 sq. ft. where Pilates Place was, entering from the South Church parking lot. There is another second floor space above Ragtime, about 1,700 sq. ft.
“That is a total of about 4,700 sq. ft retail first floor and a total of approx. 8,400 sq. ft. There may be a few more here or there, but it is at about 1.4% total, close to 1% first floor of the total.
“As businesses have changed some business have moved closer to the core (Mill St.) for better locations with higher traffic, others have re-sized for survival with lower rents. We have had a number of new businesses, but it is not much more than normal. Our major core businesses are surviving, however, it is common knowledge we are not in a bubble. It is important to be ‘right sized’ when it comes to inventory, staff and size and rent per square foot.
“The business district sales tax revenue is a smaller percentage of the overall sales tax revenue of the City since the Glenbrook Basin was annexed. The sale tax numbers that have been reported over the last few years have been down but the are incrementally inching back up. The numbers in downtown change if there is or is not a used car lot on East Main but that is not of really great significance.
“The Downtown area has had a decline in employees, but there is more parking available for customers. My estimate is that we have lost about 80 employees downtown, mostly part time.”