Dublin Hopes to Bring Big Box Retailers to Town

Contra Costa Times

October  8th, 2009

DUBLIN — Dublin hopes to fill empty retail space left vacant downtown by the slumping economy by luring in “big box” retailers with a sweeter sales tax reimbursement deal.

By a unanimous vote, the council voted Tuesday to amend its new Sales Tax Reimbursement Program by adding a second tier to entice bigger fish into the city.

“There have been larger formats that want to be in our market,” said Linda Maurer, Dublin’s economic development manager. “We have current vacancies but the format does not work out that well.”

The amendment passed Tuesday allows businesses that move into the city, and that generate $50 million or more in new annual taxable sales, to be eligible to recover a portion of the cost of capital improvements to their building or space for period of 10 years.

The original program was passed in January and allowed new businesses coming into town that generate $10 million in new taxable sales to be eligible to recover a portion of the cost of capital improvements to their building or space.

Those reimbursements would be limited to actual costs incurred by the owner or tenant for improvements, and the amount recovered would be based upon new sales tax revenue earned on the property after improvements are made. The amount of the expenses would have to be documented, and once retail sales begin no more than half of the new sales taxes would be used for reimbursement.

Payments would be made annually and continue until the full amount was recouped or for a period of five years, which ever occurs first.

Since the city began the program, Graybar Electric Co. Inc. took advantage and expanded its operation from Hayward and opened a 20,000=square-foot building on Dublin Boulevard in July.

Maurer said she is actively working with another company interested in taking advantage of the $10 million category and that commercial real estate brokers have told her several big retailers have inquired about moving to Dublin.

“From their standpoint, the market viability of being right at the (Interstate) 580-680 interchange is extremely attractive to large retailers that are not here,” Maurer said. “And there are sites that are available.” Dublin has lost Mervyns, Circuit City and Expo Design Center, leaving large retail spaces empty.

The city received good news in July when New Home Inc., a green retail superstore, announced it was moving to the city and filling a vacant building that once housed Good Guys. New Home Inc., however, did not qualify for the Sales Tax Reimbursement Program.

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