Goodwill Industries Purchasing 'Clocktower' Property

LA MESA -- Representatives from Goodwill Industries began visiting with residents and civic leaders Wednesday informing them of the organization's plan to purchase the iconic downtown 'Clocktower' building at the corner of Spring Street and La Mesa Boulevard. Goodwill plans to operate a resale shop.

Beth Forsberg, Senior Director of Operations, for the charitable organization, said the group is aware it will be owning a building that is seen as a part of the city's historic downtown.

"We want the community to know we understand the responsibility of owning a building like this,'' she said. "We do a good job.''

Bryan Cunningham, who handles Goodwill's acquisitions, said some communities have been reluctant to welcome Goodwill in the past, but he said the group now operates professionally, well-maintained properties.

"This is not the Goodwill of old,'' Cunningham said. Forsberg said she expects Goodwill to operate a more "upscale'' shop in keeping with the quality of many of the antique shops that are located along the boulevard.

La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid, who was in attendance at the Property Based Improvement District committee meeting which Forsberg attended, was neither effusive in praise for the news nor negative to the development.

"I don't believe it is the highest and best use for the property," Madrid said. "But if they have the money and they can buy the property, it's still a free market here.''

Local merchant Jim Wieboldt, who also represents the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce on the PBID committee, said he prefers Goodwill to the empty building that has been there for months now.

"If it was a marijuana shop, I'd have a different view,'' Wieboldt said, "but it is not that. And they've joined the Chamber and seem like they will be good members of the community.''

Still, there is some irony that Forsberg chose the PBID venue to discuss her organization's plans. City officials and local merchants have been laboring away for months to build a funding mechanism to provide private maintenance for millions of dollars in public improvements the city is planning to invest along its historic boulevard. Another resale shop, one often associated with charity and a poor clientele, probably wasn't on their wish list for the redeveloped avenue.

But Forsberg didn't hear any opposition Wednesday night. In fact, she was greeted warmly by Arlene Moore, who heads the Downtown Village Merchant's Association, who wanted Forsberg to know that her own business, Park Estates Co., also handles estate sales and resale antiques.

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Tags: Arlene Moore, Art Madrid, Beth Forsberg, Bryan Cunningham, Clock Tower, Downtown Village Merchant's Association, Goodwill Industries, Jim Wieboldt, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, PBID, More…Park Estates Company, Property Based Improvement District

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