Letter From Carol McCarthy

A recent editorial queried, “What is our Council doing to improve the business climate in Santa Clara?” We are so glad you asked.

All five of the recently adopted City Council goals for 2011-2013 focus on economic development. Even though the City of Santa Clara is home to the world headquarters of some of the largest corporations in America (Intel, Applied Materials, Agilent) and more than 12,000 other licensed businesses, City leadership recognizes that our community still has great potential for attracting, retaining and growing more businesses. A healthy business sector provides jobs, revenue for City services, and meets the needs of our residents, workforce, and visitors with goods and services.

A key component of any economic development effort is to make the City conducive to business. Santa Clara has done that in many ways, including low utility rates – the lowest in the nine Bay Area counties – and ease in obtaining permits and building plan approvals through our one-stop Permit Center at City Hall and online services.

One thing to remember when talking about business is that these are private enterprises with their own decision-making processes. You might think it would be nice to have more car dealerships on El Camino Real, for example, but auto dealers may prefer to be clustered, as they are on Stevens Creek Boulevard. Some residents might want to have a national chain grocery store in their neighborhood, but a particular location may not meet a retailer’s site criteria.

We are fortunate that in addition to the high profile brands like Safeway, Lucky, Albertson’s, Save Mart, and Costco, Santa Clara is home to dozens of other ethnic markets and discount grocers and a very popular year-round farmers market every Saturday morning. We look forward to the opening of one of the region’s first few Fresh & Easy grocery stores on the site of the old Mervyn’s on El Camino along with a 150,000-square-foot Target, Panera, Chipotle, Ross and other new stores. And we enjoy a new Summerwinds Nursery.

Santa Clara welcomes new business and has approved plans for more than nine million square feet of large office/R&D projects including new campuses for Yahoo! and Nvidia. The start date of construction is up to the corporations and is greatly influenced by the rate of the nation’s economic recovery. Currently moving ahead are a new Marriott TowneSuites Hotel and the Sobrato Development Lawson Lane project. Dell is also in the process of consolidating 1,500 jobs of its operation into Santa Clara.

Santa Clara has a long-standing reputation as a great place to do business. The Council focus on economic development during the next two years will help to ensure that our City maintains its top notch status and keeps our community thriving with new and growing businesses of all types and sizes.

Visit the City website santaclaraca.gov to see more information on economic development and the Council priorities for 2011-13, and watch for a special insert on economic development in the September issue of Inside Santa Clara.