Sunday, January 11, 2009

Islamorada Bemoans First Chain Store

Well, I guess it had to happen sometime.....
Islamorada finally repealed its longstanding edict that did not allow national chain stores larger than 2,000 square feet within the Island City's limits. That zoning change occurred in late December and now we are blessed/cursed with the first chain to rush in.
This can be looked at both as a positive and a negative.
Negative of course is that it mars the....local, small town feel that Islamorada has so well preserved.
The Positive and more realistically beneficial view is that this will create more creature comforts and make the Keys even that more "accessible" to tourists and transplants.
This will, of course, stimulate the real estate economy as retailers will be opting for available parcels and existing storefronts, which should as well trickle down activity to the residential market.
So, as with so many things lately, I shall welcome the change, though I will always hold a very dear place in my heart for the rustic Keys Days of old.

I saw this article in this morning:

"Islamorada bemoans first chain store

PLANTATION KEY — With the village's anti-chain store law now a thing of the past, the first new national franchise has opened in Islamorada.
Domino's Pizza opened the day after Christmas in a mile marker 88.5 strip mall along the Overseas Highway. The company's characteristic blue, red and white sign was erected late last week, according to owner Dale Ranson.
"Thank God they finally gave us a permit. We're really happy," he said.
The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta struck down Islamorada's 2002 anti-chain store law in September, ruling that it unconstitutionally discriminated against out of state interests. The ordinance blocked new chain stores larger than 2,000 square feet from opening in the village.
Further legal maneuvering delayed repeal of the ban until late November.
But though the appellate panel made it clear that the village's sister law banning all new chain restaurants does not meet constitutional muster either, that law remains on the books pending formal action by the trial court in Miami, or a settlement between the village and litigant Joe Cachia.
However, the village's decision to allow Domino's to open on Plantation Key means that it no longer intends to enforce the law.
"What the court said was to come back with something consistent with the judgment," Planning Director Ed Koconis said. "Since the Formula Restaurant Ordinance is even more restrictive than the retail, we believe we need to issue the permit."
Though Domino's has come to Islamorada, it doesn't necessarily mean that floodgates to the national chain stores that the town has long resisted will spill open.
Owner Ranson, unaware that the anti-chain store law would apply to him, first opened his Domino's a year ago, only to have it shut down by village code enforcement after a couple of days.
In response, Ranson converted the small storefront to a faux Domino's, which he called Murphy's Law Pizza. Murphy's Law served Domino's items, but without the signage, pizza boxes, menu logos and other branding.
Ranson closed the pizzeria in May at the insistence of Domino's, which informed him that he was violating his franchise agreement.
Still, with the storefront already leased, it was a relatively simple matter to reopen the Domino's once the Islamorada chain-store ban was repealed.
For other companies that have previously expressed an interest in the village, such as a Publix and Walgreens, things would likely be far more complicated. Details like land purchases, lease agreements, permitting and site plan approvals all must be worked out. Then there's the sagging economy that is stifling many companies' desire to expand.
Though he declined to be specific, Realtor George Wilson said in recent weeks he has been showing properties to agents for several chains stores and restaurants.
So far he's had no luck, primarily, he says, because potential sellers are vastly overestimating their properties' worth in the 2009 economy.
"There are people holding out for $4 million or $5 million cash," Wilson said. "They're dreaming."

Now, my question is....Do they deliver in 30 minutes to your boat as well??? LOL

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