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Southampton Shopping Center Business Owners Unhappy About Texas Based Landlord

Many long time merchants have moved or are considering moving because of difficulties with landlord.

Business owners at the Southampton Shopping Center, fed up with their landlord, Houston, Texas based Weingarten Realty, brought their concerns to a meeting with acting and Economic Development Board member Duane Oliveras.  The meeting was held at the Benicia Community Center earlier in May.

, the former City Councilman and long time Benicia restauranteur moved to the Southampton Shopping Center three years ago and opened . “It’s not a shopping center, it’s a single stop center,” said Ioakimedes.

The Benicia Herald reports that other merchants are also unhappy.  Among their cncerns are the parking situation and that the mix businesses in the center doesn’t encourage shoppers to spend time in more than one store before getting in the car and leaving.

Corinne Harpin, owner of is done negotiating with Weingarten Realty.  “I’m moving out,” said Harpin.  “After 25 years, I’ve had enough.  In September I’m moving to First Street.”

Harpin had been trying to negotiate a new lease and felt that the landlord didn't care about the difficulties small businesses are facing in today's economy.  According to Harpin, during the negotiations she was told the only thing she could count on was that her rent would never go down.  

Harping went on to say that the landlord didn't try and negotiate a reasonable rent until she gave her notice.

What do you think of Southampton Center?  Are you happy with the business mix in the center?

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If there’s something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com.

nick s May 31, 2012 at 12:43 PM
We just moved to the area from Houston. The wealthy (greedy) owners of rental properties in TX have the laws completely stacked in their favor in that state and that's their mind set...We were sorry to hear that any TX company owns anything in CA, especially an unscrupulous company such as Weingarten...
Joe Feltcher May 31, 2012 at 03:56 PM
The roadway in there is terrible. I hit a NASTY pothole last weekend in there. In the winter when the rains come it gets even worse.
Robert Livesay June 01, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Raley's is the key. If they put pressure on the landlord it will mean a lot. If Raley's ups and moves then it is all over. Except if a Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Fresh and Easy decide to locate in their place. Then you have something. I do not think you want to count on that. Raley's must carry the ball on this with the help from Econ. Dev. for Benicia. It will be difficult. I do believe it can be done with a Raley's aggressive stance.
Nancy Otter June 02, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Only laundrymat in Benicia. Parking difficult, particular when many shopping center employees use the parking spots near the laundrymat doors. Improvements could include better parking for employees that didn't interfer with customer parking, more, and more dispersed ADA parking, more businesses open rather than so many empty, and ensuring the laundrymat stays open. I would not usually drive from downtown to shop unless doing laundry, I do shop a variety of businesses when there.
Frank Cassese June 03, 2012 at 10:45 AM
first \street
Frank Cassese June 03, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Scratch that last post. As a merchant on First Street I welcome any retail business dissatisfied with their current location. These businesses will also bring their customsers with them. With more retailers on First Street we can make this a shopping mecca for the residents and tourists alike. A few improvements and upgrades can make First Street a pleasant and exciting place to shop. The merchants on First know what it will take to improve the shopping atmosphere. Whether it is via the BID or a merchants group by any other name, we must organize to be heard and get the needed improvements/upgrades on First. As a group we can be heard more than any individual business. Let's make First Street and "Benicia By The Bay A Great Place to Shop and Play." So dissatisfied reatailers of Southampton, look at First Street. Let's fill the Street with diverse and interesting retail shops. Let's make Benicia Downtown The Place To Shop.

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