Adventures In Rent-Seeking: Shopping Mall Parking Edition

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"Adventures In Rent-Seeking: Shopping Mall Parking Edition"

Many thanks to the eagle-eyed Floridian who sent me “Restaurants in Pembroke Gardens fear competition from incoming Cheesecake Factory”, which is basically a sum of all fears Matt Yglesias blog post. The basic facts of the case are that the tenants of a shopping mall don’t like the fact that the owner of the shopping mall wants to lease some space to a Cheesecake Factory:

Restaurants in Pembroke Gardens want to block an incoming Cheesecake Factory for fear it will take a bite out of their business. The mall’s current tenants include big chains like Brio Tuscan Grille and Fuddruckers, with just a few smaller operations. Still, out of the shopping center’s nine full-service restaurants, six — the Village Tavern, Brio, Fuddruckers, Ra Sushi Bar Restaurant, Stir Crazy and The Pub — are worried, said realtor Jeffery R. Anderson.

And of course they should be worried! Every businessman in America should be constantly worried that new entrants are going to cut into his profit margins. But every customer in America should be constantly excited about the possibility of new entrants improving their options. But sadly for America, the rent-seeking incumbent restauranteurs have a plan—parking regulations!

The Village Tavern and Fuddruckers have hired attorney Albert Frevola of Broward litigation firm Conrad Scherer. Frevola said he will argue at the June meeting that the Cheesecake Factory should not be allowed to set up shop in Pembroke Gardens because it will create a parking nightmare.

On the one hand, the Cheesecake Factory will put them out of business by poaching their customers. But on the other hand, the Cheesecake Factory’s existence will lead to such a large net increase in customers that it needs to be banned. But of course this isn’t really about parking, it’s about stopping the Cheesecake Factory from opening:

The city doesn’t actually have the power to block the Cheesecake Factory, since it’s Duke Reality’s decision who they rent to, Rose said. But if the commission changed the legally required number of parking spaces, that would force Pembroke Gardens to come up with more spaces if Cheesecake Factory plans to come in.

“Or, Cheesecake Factory doesn’t come in,” Frevola added.

I like to think Frevola finished that up with a cackling laugh or some kind of Dr Evil pink to the mouth gesture.

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