Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Highest and Best Use

Years ago Caltrain shuttered most of its stations. The station agents were retired or let go, their ticketing function replaced by vending machines. While costs have indeed been reduced, the value of the old buildings and other real estate has largely remained untapped.

At Hillsdale Station the old wooden building has been leased to Luke's Local, "a commuter 'market' that sells fresh produce and prepared dinner meals."

The economics that the new tenant faces are daunting. Non-commuters won't go out of their way to shop at the station because Caltrain riders have filled all the parking spaces by 8:30 a.m. The shopping center across the street has a Starbucks, and nearby restaurants and fast food outlets already offer breakfast and dinner fare.

In a minor show of support I bought some garlic heads for $1 each (50 cents at Lucky's). More than half of the time I don't see any other customers. It would be surprising if they're still here next year.

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