Fact Check: No net jobs at Shoppes on Maine, really?

I made the statement that the addition of retailers at Shoppes on Maine has not increased jobs in Rochester.  I have met with Tom Hexum and Ron Schultz of Maine Street Development.  They stated and I agree that there are new job at Shoppes on Maine.  However if these are simply a shuffling of existing jobs there is not a new benefit.

First in fairness here are new jobs as estimated by Ron and Tom.

  • Target – 100
  • Best Buy – 40
  • Maurices – 12
  • T – Nails – 6
  • Caribou Coffee – 10
  • Lowes – 100
  • Dicks – 35
  • Petsmart – 12
  • Debs – 12
  • MGM – 8
  • Portrait Innovations – 8
  • Fat Willy’s – 25
  • Theatre – 40
  • Subway – 8
  • Mattress Giant – 6
  • Noodles – 20
  • Mills Fleet Farm -100
  • Speedee – 50
  • TSC – 10
  • Dentist -5
  • Comfort Inn – 40
  • OPP Services – 20
  • Costcutter – 10
  • Catherines – 12
  • Pearl Vision – 10
  • Think Bank – 10
  • Mayo CU – 10
  • Toyota -70
  • Kwik Trip – 20
  • McDonalds – 35
  • Discount Tire – 12
  • Reinders – 3
  • Appliance Smart – 15
  • Value Place – 20

This would represent about 900 “new” jobs.  But here is the problem.  Just because new retailers open doesn’t mean that we buy more.  While more retail activity was taking place in this area, there was less taking place elsewhere.

This is some data curtosy of the Edward Lowe Foundation.  Between 2004 and 2008 I looked for the net change in retail jobs in the Rochester area.  I cut this off in 2008 because the would reduce effects of the bank deregulation recession.

Our population growth rate is about 2% annually so the 12,403 jobs in 2004 we would expect would be about 13,425 in 2008.  But in reality there were only 12,527.  Therefore we can see that despite investments in this area jobs didn’t really grow, rather we just moved them around, spending a fortune of money to do so.

As an aside Tom and Ron made the point, and I agree, that development was not the only reason the interchanges were put in.  I would say though, if the primary concern was safety on US 63 far less extravagant options would have been available and 2 interchanges certainly were not necessary.  Any new infrastructure should offer payback, and I am not sure this one will.

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