Westfield Sinks While We All Get Fat

Having breakfast this morning at my all-time favorite diner, Vicki’s, I heard news that the pendulum is once again swinging on downtown Westfield.

Apparently big companies are moving out in droves as are a few of the smaller retail establishments.

Not that many years ago, many of the old mom and pop stores closed up shop and sat vacant; not because they didn’t want to stay in business but because a select few landlords kept raising rents and forced them out of business.

Apparently, the landlords preferred to sit on vacant retail space in hopes of luring some big fish into town and to get higher rents.

Well, it worked and I’m sure that many of them have made tons of dough.

However, now that the economy has softened dramatically, it appears as though those big fish are retrenching and are now pulling up stakes and leaving.

It seems to me that Westfield is not going to be a retail destination any longer but will continue to evolve itself into a dining mecca.

After all, I’m sure that all of the rich people who live only a few blocks away from town appreciate being able to eat and drink at a myriad of epicurean destinations having only a short drive or walk back to their mcmansions after the possibility of having copious libations.

Can you blame them?

However, when it comes to retail, besides the fact that Westfield has miserably failed to address its parking problem, people would much rather go to a mall such as Short Hills where they can get covered or valet parking and a five dollar latte all in a 72 degree climate controlled environment.

So, unless they put a roof over Westfield and build a megalithic parking deck, Westfield doesn’t stand a chance to attract any more upscale retailers. Not unless those retailers have been ignoring what’s been going on.

Since the demographics are right, a few more flies might fall for the bait.

The difference between the mall and downtown Westfield is that the retailers at a mall are all dealing with one landlord who is very conscious about vacancy rates and willing to negotiate to keep tenants happy. In some cases they even offer free rent just to keep the traffic coming.

So, as Westfield continues to evolve itself into a dining destination, as well as a place to see others and to be seen by others, I just hope that nobody needs to buy a wrench or a pair of levi’s right away, because you’ll never find them in town.

For the sake of the landlords, I sure hope that this recession doesn’t curtail all of the dining patrons’ gluttonous ways or its curtains for everyone.

3 Responses to “Westfield Sinks While We All Get Fat”

  1. Amy Jester Says:

    You are so right, but, want to go to “16” over the weekend & drink good wine & walk to our house for available guest rooms while “16” is still operating?
    The old lady in the old house. 🙂

  2. rob Says:

    the problem is the town fathers really don’t care about the downtown and the money it brings in. They had many opportunities over the years for growth like allowing the Shop Rite to be built in Westfield and getting the increase in tax revenue or building a parking deck, allowing a planned building on the train station lot to help clean up the area and plan for the future direct train line to NY. The Town council seems like a bunch of spoiled lawyers and do nothings that don’t realize change may not be all bad.
    they are getting what the mayor and other members wanted declining revenue, increase expenses, no development no new stores.

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