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Frustration Grows at City Hall Over Another Business Closing at Southampton Shopping Center

Restaurants and stores closing in Southampton Shopping Center and complaints from tenants has City Hall confused about landlord plans for Southampton Shopping Center.

Frustration with Weingarten Realty Investors, has spread from the tenants of the Southampton Shopping Center to City Hall.

“Right now, we’re very frustrated with them and we’ve communicated that to then with both phone calls and in writing,” said City Manager Brad Kilger.

The announced a restaurant that has been in various locations in Benicia for 33 years coupled with other businesses either relocating or closing for good has prompted City Hall to take a more aggressive approach to dealing with the Houston based landlords.

“We have serious questions about what the business plan is for that center,” said Kilger.

Mayor Elizabeth Patterson has written a letter to Weingarten Senior Vice-President of Development, Robert Smith expressing the city’s frustration and concern for businesses in the center.

With the announced relocation of Harpin’s Beauty Supply Salon, the closure of Mike and Gayle’s and the recent relocation of , the center will have eight vacant spaces in September. 

“The City doesn’t really have the tools to affect who they recruit,” said Kilger.

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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.

Aaron Nowling August 22, 2012 at 04:03 PM
The investment firm which owns Soouth Hampton Shopping Center will cause Benicia to loose a significant amount of revenue from losss of sales tax by emptying out the shopping center. During this time of economic depression, the raising of rents will be a loss for everybody including the shopping center owners.
Joe Feltcher August 22, 2012 at 04:39 PM
After reading your comment, maybe the Southampton center needs a English writing school.
Matthew Stewart August 22, 2012 at 05:13 PM
After reading your comment, maybe the Southampton Center needs a Standup Comedy School.
Aaron Nowling August 22, 2012 at 05:15 PM
After reading yours. Always use "an" before a noun which starts with a vowel sound. My mistake was typo, yours was a like of proper grammar. It is a shame that some people have to throw up on people. It is also rude and impolite.
Kenny August 22, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I would hope that Raleys would be a willing partner in this negotiation since they are the leading tenant. Their input could enlighten these people to our geographics and potential market.
Robert Livesay August 22, 2012 at 06:31 PM
After seeing all the names of business that at one time were in the center I wonder what the real reason they are not there now. Some very big name companies that for what ever reason pulled out. Why do any of you Benicia residents think they left the center. This is not a new issue. It has been going on for over twenty years. There appears to be more to it. It could be a very simple answer. I sure would like to know why they left. I do believe the Benicia residents may have the answer. Who knows.
Karl Voigt August 22, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Maybe the landlord doesn't care. Maybe the shopping center is worth more to them as some sort of tax write off ??? However I'm sure the Mayor's letter will terrify them into acting like good boys.
Harry Spider II August 22, 2012 at 06:49 PM
"maybe the Southampton center needs a English writing school" You criticize the grammar of others, with grammar such as this? Now THAT be funny, I doesn't care you who is ...
"The Black Panther of Poetry" August 22, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Good luck Mayor Patterson stand strong and Lead Like A Mayor with these people out of Texas. And Joe Feltcher seriously has something wrong with him. I think he suffers from that Hawaiin Disease called, "Lacofnukie" (lac/of/nukie)
Scott Burford August 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Although I am sad to see businesses moving out of Southampton Shopping Center, it appears to me that the City has no real leverage to remedy the situation. Supply and demand in other areas of town will probably have an effect on pricing in other areas of Benicia, which may, as time flies, raise up to the levels at Southampton. To the person who commented earlier about sales tax revenue decreases, we only lose if the relocating business relocates out of Benicia. For the sales tax losses from the closure of Mike and Gayles, there may be a corresponding uptick in other Benicia restaurants which would offset the loss of tax revenue. Although empty storefronts look bad, Benicia can reap a gain if they can encourage other out-of-Benicia businesses to come in and establish a business which fills a need and creates "new sales taxes". Otherwise, we're just moving money around from one Benicia business to another.
Fran Wilder August 22, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Why are businesses leaving Southampton shopping center......its called GREED by these corporations. Isn't it better to have someone renting a location at a reasonable rate than to gouge them thereby forcing them out and now having NO RENT! I don't think you have to be an Einstein or Business guru to figure this out...but then common sense doesn't prevail anymore. On top of that "outsiders" dedicating to our little town.!
Aaron Nowling August 23, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Robert Livesay is correct. Bunisses have been leaving the center for over 20 years. Actually, it has been going on since the mid 1980's. Many of the businesses were major chain stores with multiple locations.. Major chain stores pull the plug immediately if it is not profitable for them. After hearing about the Raley's store in Antioch closing, who knows Raley;s could pull the plug. Now wouldn't that create an eyesore for the center and the city. Small businesses need to do a thorough demographic study before locating in a strip mall. If the median income is not there to support a business, it should not locate there. Goodwill will probably be the next establishment to leave the South Hampton Shopping Center. I do not see how a charitable organization can generate enough profit to warrant the high rents. As a Benicia business person, I am sure my per day sales are more than many of small businesses in the center have in a week. Businesses have to not only look at the rent, but also the other overhead expenses such as their triple net, insurance, shipping cost of product being sold,wages, and utilities. Also, in a shopping center with a parking lot the size as the South Hampton Shopping Center, the businesses are going to get a huge bill about three years for repaving the parking lot.
Scott Burford August 23, 2012 at 04:53 AM
There is only a loss of sales tax if the business that leaves Southampton Centre either go out of business or leave town. In most cases, the businesses have relocated to another building in Benicia, therefore preserving the sales tax revenue. If the business simply "goes under" it is hard to place all of the blame on the landlord.
Scott Burford August 23, 2012 at 05:00 AM
Robert, the answer lies in the fluctuations in the economy, the aptitude of the business owners, and in the case of chain stores, the mergers and acquisitions of those regional businesses, which drive store openings and closings. In short, if you look at every similarly sized shopping center in the greater Bay Area, I promise you will see the same thing. Turnover is natural in business, especially in retail.
Scott Burford August 23, 2012 at 05:11 AM
A responsible business owner will understand these costs, and have a solid business plan that allows them to be profitable and able to survive downturns in the economy. Perhaps we're witnessing a change in the structure of retail centers -- this may be the beginning of a transition to something other than the large centers like Southampton.
Babaloo November 02, 2012 at 04:48 AM
1. business is business. 2. Aaron Knowling's statement "As a Benicia business person, I am sure my per day sales are more than many of small businesses in the center have in a week." must really be doing quite a bit of business, i wonder what the "business is ". 3 an absentee landlord or one who "lives" out of state has zero interest in the community it serves. So go ahead write your letter , they will respond with "and ?" 4. the people of benicia need to take responsibility for their community. we must shop in our town. there is no other choice. meanwhile the businesses MUST court our people to shop here. it is a win / win situation. Now if you give bad service or do not take care of your customers. why should they shop with you ?
JB Davis (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Very good points Babaloo.

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