Escondido City Council votes 3-2 to allow 99 Cents Only store to go in downtown shopping center

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - Escondido City Council voted 3-2 Wednesday to allow a 99 Cents Only store to go in a downtown Escondido shopping center.

99 Cents Only stores are very popular in most places. One in Poway does a booming business. But it is not being welcomed into the shopping center. The center is directly across from the California Center for the Arts and it has fallen on hard times. Several major stores and restaurants have closed, including Old Navy, which was one of the anchor tenants. That is where the 99 Cents Only store would go.

Marco Gonzalez is the attorney asking the Escondido City Council to lift the ban on fixed price stores in that neighborhood. 

"If we get occupancy, we get an uplift," he said. "There's a lot more traffic. Something like a 99 Cents Only store tends to bring in a lot of foot traffic, a lot of people and that ends up supporting a lot of other buildings."

Escondido Planning Chief Barbara Redlitz explained in a note to council that they want more upscale stores than 99 Cents Only. 

"The store would not advance the development of the downtown area as a regional destination for specialty shopping, dining, night life, employment, culture or art," she said.

Gonzalez argues that it is more important to have a store that brings in customers, rather than another empty storefront.

"It's good for the city of Escondido, good for economics, for the tax base, for their plan for downtown to allow this use," he said.

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