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Rent Increases Threaten Pacific Palisades Merchants

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The March 17, 2005 issue of the Palisadian-Post reports that Swarthmore Street merchants are anxious about their landlords' proposed rent increases.Their landlords, Palisades Partners, a multi-family trust that owns 18 of the 22 retail and commercian properties on the 1000 block of Swarthmore, informed their tenants that rent would be doubled, if they renew their leases this spring.

Most rents will jump from about $2.50 to about $4.50 a month, plus about 50 cents a month for 'triple net' (a payment for all utilities plus a percentage of property taxes, insurance and maintenance costs). But the tenants have marshalled support from the community. When representatives from the landlord met with business owners at tables outside Mort's Deli to discuss the proposed new terms of the five-year leases, which replaces month-to-month leases, they did so within distance of windows covered with "Save Our Village Keep the Rents Reasonable" signs that had been hand-colored by shoppers at the previous week's farmer's market.

But emotions are running high on both sides.

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The paper reports, "Asked why they chose to meet in such a public location, one of the trustees told the Palisadian-Post: 'We were trying to make a statement, loud and clear, that we're not intimidated.'"

Palisades Chamber of Commerce president, David Williams, is trying to mediate between the two sides. Linda Renaud reports in the March 31, 2005 edition of the Palisadian-Post that representatives of the landlords have refused to discuss the matter with many of the tenants and declined counter-offers. Some suspect the landlords of using the lease issue to get rid of many long time tenants, thus changing the nature and flavor of the commercial district.