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Henn votes on Lido, despite financial ties

Newport mayor's decisions on Lido Village revival could help one of his consulting clients.

August 13, 2011|By Mike Reicher, mike.reicher@latimes.com

Via Lido Drugs sells items for both residents and visitors: sand toys, home furnishings, greeting cards and small gifts, in addition to pharmaceuticals. Since the Pavilions closed this summer, it is now the most prominent retailer in the village.

After reviewing facts supplied by Henn to attorneys and the FPPC, Stern said, "My advice to him would be: 'Don't take the chance of a conflict or the perception [of one].' "

Retailers like Via Lido Drugs would most likely see a boost in sales once the area is revitalized, according to the city's real estate market consultant. But it is unknown whether that would trigger the $1,000 or $20,000 thresholds.

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Revamping the parking, infrastructure, vehicle circulation and appearance of the area would help Lido Village realize its market potential, said Richard Gollis, principal of The Concord Group, which helped develop a plan for the area.

"It raises the sales potential of everybody in the location," he said. "It ought to improve everybody."

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A top priority

Stagnating retail activity was the reason Henn gave in January 2010 to begin revamping Lido Village.

Residents who live nearby for years had been complaining about the area's high retail vacancies and deteriorating buildings. The village has two main shopping centers: Via Lido Plaza, home of Via Lido Drugs and, until recently, Pavilions; and the bayfront Lido Marina Village. Both have suffered empty storefronts; Lido Marina Village came to symbolize the area's neglect.

Henn began to push for the city to take action.

"We have just allowed Lido Marina Village to stagnate," Henn said at a goal-setting session for the City Council. "We have to do something to stimulate true progress. I know we're in tough economic times, but maybe it would help if the city can articulate a vision [for the area]."

Since then, Henn has shepherded it to the top of the list of neighborhoods to be revitalized. The city has budgeted at least $165,000 for the project.

Others have argued their part of town is in greater need. Councilman Rush Hill initially thought Mariner's Mile should be revitalized first, he said in an interview. But he eventually was swayed to vote for Lido. Hill and Henn sit on the ad-hoc Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, which sometimes meets behind closed doors.

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