San Jose Citywide, North San Jose and Downtown retail strategies approved by City Council

On March 12, OED presented to the Community and Economic Development Committee of the San Jose City Council the culmination of a year’s worth of studies and planning to help increase the availability of retail city-wide and in North San Jose and Downtown. The process included a series of analyses and recommendations conducted by consultants such as Strategic Economics and the refinement of a set of 28 focused strategies that OED suggested in order to increase retail investment across the city. These strategies were grouped as follows:

  • Regulatory – Changes in City zoning and processes that constitute barriers to retail investment
  • Marketing – Promoting the San Jose retail market to existing and new retailers
  • Engagement – Working with developers, property owners, and major retailers to encourage new/enhanced retail activity
  • Facilitation and Assistance – Provide support/services to help businesses navigate city processes and provide opportunities to enhance retail projects.

Of the 28 specific strategies presented, 11 have already been completed or are being addressed in the current workplan, and 17 are either slated for the workplan or require additional resources. OED is pleased that in Mayor’s March Budget Message included the recommendation for allocating additional resources, including the addition of a Business Development Officer dedicated to retail development city-wide.

The reports were accepted unanimously by the City Council, and OED will continue to provide updates as we implement and complete the strategies outlined in the report, which can be accessed by visiting the online meeting video, PowerPoint presentation and associated written agenda, Items # 4.1 and 4.2.

The significance of the retail sector of our economy to the city’s wellbeing. To quote from the report:

  • Sales tax is a major driver of revenue for the General Fund. In San Jose, it is the second-largest source of General Fund revenue after property tax, producing about $226 million in FY 2016-17. (Property tax generated about $306 million during the same period.)
  • Retail provides residents with a better quality of life through access to convenient goods and services.
  • Retail contributes to a sense of place by bringing people together, activating social spaces and serving as a kind of entertainment.
  • Retail creates jobs, and is often a workforce entry point. Payroll data from the state’s Employment Development Department showed the sector is responsible for 11 percent of a city’s job base, about 46,000 of 420,600 jobs within San Jose.