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Riverside Dreams of Gas Lamps and Promenades

Destination Riverside. Yes, we said Riverside, jerks. A reader points us to a story about the burgeoning burg by a river, where chain restaurants and stores are threatening the downtown mom and pop shops. The tension is palpable, as quaintly dead downtown Riverside envisions a future a la San Diego's GasLamp Quarter and the 3rd Street Promenade. But will Starbucks and The Cheesecake Factory kill the heart of the City? Via the Press Enterprise:

Barkley, who is [CeeAnn Thiel's, owner of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkles gift shop] landlord, said the city would be foolish to drive out existing businesses such as Mrs. Tiggy-Winkles, Simple Simon's restaurant and others, in favor of regional or national chains. Instead, he thinks they can coexist. "National tenants validate the area for lenders but also for other major tenants," who often insist on having other specific chains nearby, he said.

The introduction of the retail chains has lead to steeper rents and fiercer competition. However, Riverside still has a ways to go before they become the retail hot spot they hope to be. Pinkberry's IE expansion seems to have stalled at Rancho Cucamonga.
· Downtown Riverside looks for right mix of businesses to spur revival [Press Enterprise]