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Parking Garage, Cineplex Not Stemming Sales Tax Decline

According to an Alameda city staff report to be presented to City Council tonight, in the 4th Quarter of 2008, the Park Street South of Lincoln sales tax district suffered a 15.3% decline in sales tax revenue compared to the same quarter the previous year.

The Alameda Civic Center Parking Structure and the Alameda Theater and Cineplex are located in the South of Lincoln District, and project boosters, including the City of Alameda, promised residents that it would provide retail sales tax. We’ve reported before how this has not yet proved to be true, and we’re still waiting to see it.

The Park Street North of Lincoln District, which includes the slowly evaporating “auto row” suffered a 30% decline for the same period.

Apologists for the Parking Structure and Megaplex project will blame the declining economy for the 15.3% sales tax decline in the area around the theater. But what we saw last quarter was that the South of Lincoln district didn’t fare better relative to other Alameda sales tax districts, which we would expect to see if the garage and theater were really driving so much sales tax revenue. We’ll do the same analysis again this quarter and report on it later. But it looks like the parking garage has only shifted the composition of retail sales tax revenue, not increased the overall amount. And we’re still waiting for a first-year anniversary financial report from the City on the parking garage and the cineplex.

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