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Allied Arts Low Rent Alternative Won't Work

Original post made by Common Sense, Portola Valley: Ladera, on Mar 18, 2007

It's been suggested that rebuilding the revenues at the Allied Arts Guild will take time, and that one path to growth is to offer below market rents to artists. While below market costs offer an attractive incentive for struggling artists and art galleries, it ignores the reality that the Allied Arts complex is also in deep financial do-do. From what I've heard, they had cost overruns on the restoration of the site, have kicked out nearly all the tenants (thus eliminating any rental revenue), and are betting the ranch on becoming a destination meeting complex….in Menlo Park?

I understand that they've spent all the money raised from donations for the renovation, and if they are going to continue operations, will probably have to borrow funds. Doesn't sound very financially astute to me.

Their plan to return to profitability is based upon becoming a conference and meeting center—in competition with Stanford University, The Westin Hotel, The Sheraton Hotel, The Four Seasons Hotel, and the Stanford Park Hotel, plus many others. They have no current audio-visual capability, resources or knowledge, and their physical plant is not conducive to traditional business meetings. Garden Clubs, the Red Hats, and other such organizations, however, will feel right at home – but they won't generate the kinds of revenue necessary to operate the complex. And neither will art galleries and artists studios. Menlo Park is not Carmel or Union Street in San Francisco.

I'm afraid that the Woodside-Atherton group needs a harsh dose of reality before it's too late, and more good money is spent in support of bad decisions.

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