3. Retail Recruitment & Retention Program

A. Objective Description:  Administer the Retail Coach Contract 

In 2021 the Town entered into an agreement with the “Retail Coach” a consultant that provide market analysis of commercial areas and recruits commercial businesses to shopping centers with high vacancies. Since retaining the Retail Coach there has been a higher level of communication with Kimco’s 280 Metro management directly by Town staff and reinforced by regular check-ins by The Retail Coach. A snapshot of progress filling vacant retail spaces is provided in the table below: 

The Retail Coach has confirmed that under the Ross lease, no more than five food businesses may occupy 280 Metro spaces. 

New businesses already opened or in the process include Boot Barn, DashMart, Pet Club, Good Feet, and Raising Cane. 

Q2-2021 Sales tax revenues from 280 Metro showed an estimated shortfall of approximately 20% due to the eight vacancies at that time. Seeing the closing of that gap clearly will not likely appear in quarterly reports until late 2023. 

STATUS  (as of 6/30/23):  280 Metro Center has seen a change in Kimco staffing in the first half of 2023, with a new leasing agent now in place.  Staff and TRC are establishing regular communications as well as deepening the Town’s analysis of foot traffic and the Center’s sales tax performance.  Some observations as of the end of Q4-2022:

  • Year-over-year sales tax revenue increased slightly, with good performance in the first three quarters. However, 2022 holiday sales could not keep up with the significant sales growth in late 2021, when post-pandemic pent up demand resulted in peak sales tax revenues for the Center.
  • With inflation exceeding sales tax gain over the past quarters, it remains to be seen how 2023 will play out for the mix of businesses in the Center.
  • The cap on the number of restaurants for the Center (five) continues to be a limiting factor in filling out the remaining vacant spaces and maximizing the Center’s potential. The type of tenants that remain to be allowed are not likely to have a significant effect on performance.  Staff and TRC believe that destination-type retail or entertainment businesses are needed to drive enough foot traffic to “move the needle” of the other 94% of the Center.  Additionally, destination businesses do not typically fill spaces of 3,000 to 5,000 sq. ft. at a time: 30,000 or more sq. ft. are needed to achieve high levels of foot traffic and high-performing destinations.
  • TRC has provided a new analytical tool for Colma: Foot traffic generation.  We are now able to see which areas of the Town and which individual businesses drive foot traffic, and when the annual and weekly activity peaks are.  Staff’s work plan for FY 2023-24 includes refining the modeling of foot traffic as related to sales tax generation and performance synergies within and between difference business sectors.
B. Objective Description:  Target New Auto Dealerships 

Auto row has seen the addition of the new Cadillac dealership, the expansion of Kia’s business facilities, and soon the opening of VinFast in the vacant Acura dealership property at 475 Serramonte Blvd. 

STATUS  (as of 6/30/23):  For a variety of business reasons VinFast has been delayed in completing tenant improvements to the property, hiring staff, and setting an official opening date for this new EV dealership.  The renewal of the Temporary Use Permit was approved by the Planning Dept. on June 22, 2023.

C. Objective Description:  Coordinate with Cemeteries and Auto Dealerships to Promote Local Restaurants 

STATUS  (as of 6/30/23):   Staff sees this objective as a good opportunity to partner with the Chamber of Commerce in FY 2023-24 to design, deploy and maintain a new program in Colma.

D. Objective Description:  Process Use Permits in Commercial Districts Retain, not Replace Retail 

STATUS  (as of 6/30/23):   The Colma Municipal Code allows retail land use in Commercial zoning districts by establishing a Use Permit (UP).  Historically, the Town seeks retaining retail proposals in replacement of existing retail, which would not require a UP, and promotes replacing of existing non-retail uses to retail whenever possible.

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