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Thread: Adaptive reuse of big box retailers

  1. #1

    Adaptive reuse of big box retailers

    I'm looking for innovative examples of adaptive reuse of big box retail stores. Do you know of any examples of how a vacant big box has been reused for something other than another big box retailer?

    I learned about one being turned into a SPAM museum in Minnesota.

  2. #2

    adaptive use

    In Concord NC A church in one and a motorcycle superstore in another. The church needed the space for their school and other uses. The motorcycle dealer is in an old Lowes building, seems to work well.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    They are often discussed as potential sites for telemarketing companies. I have also heard of one converted to a movie theater, but I do not recall where that was. It was in Wisconsin or Minnesota, I think. Chet?
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  4. #4
    Wal-Mart often upgrades to new buildings, so ends up having empty big boxes in need of new purposes. They have an entire division, Wal-Mart Realty, that is devoted to finding new uses for these properties. Often, there is not adoptive reuse, but either reuse as another retail store or simple vacancy. Wal-Mart has specifically done the following things with its stores:

    - Other kinds of retail
    - Temporary use as a shelter for families displaced by natural disaster and use as a national guard command center
    - Call centers
    - Hospitals/Medical Centers
    - Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges
    - Car dealerships
    - Broadcasting facilities
    - Ice arena
    - Municipal offices/courthouse
    - Warehouse
    - Factories/manufacturing

    Much of these are outlined in this online brochure. There are also some pictures available at the Wal-Mart Realty website.

    If you want more information specifically about how Wal-Mart tries to encourage reuse of their buildings, you can contact Larry Patrick, their Community and Economic Development Coordinator at Larry.patrick@wal-mart.com or by calling 479-277-2200.

  5. #5
         
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    Quote Originally posted by OhioPlanner
    I'm looking for innovative examples of adaptive reuse of big box retail stores. Do you know of any examples of how a vacant big box has been reused for something other than another big box retailer?

    I learned about one being turned into a SPAM museum in Minnesota.
    In the town I work in in New England we've had success with big box replacing big box. Three plazas are upgrading as a result of new interest. I've taken advantage of their eagerness to improve signage and landscaping, its a slow process but patience is a virtue.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    In my last job, we had relative success with one mid box store (30 000 sq ft) being turned into a call centre, another(Kmart 130 000 sq ft) was renovated and shrunk in size for a canadain tire (100 000 sq ft) and another mid size near an industrial park is being used as a warehouse.

    In Fredericton, NB an old size (50000 sq ft or less) was renovated into a strip mall, can hardly even see what used to be there.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus
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    In my fair city we have:
    Rural King in a KMart.
    Hobby Lobby and Value Furniture spliting a small Wal Mart.
    OTB spliting a grocery store, other portion currently vacant.
    Big Lots spliting a Target, other portion currently vacant.
    once a month flea market in a previous location of the old Builder's Square.

    Still have 3 vacant big boxes, one which has been vacant for 10+ years :-C
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Ankeny, Iowa turned an abandoned Walmart into a full service community medical clinic. OBGYN clinic, ped's, chiropractic, minor surgery, physical therapy, and pharmacy. They updated the outside, ripped up half of the parking lot and planted it to grass which makes it look much better.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian PlannerByDay's avatar
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    Here an old Builders Square was turned into a used and classic car automobile dealer. The parking lot has a lot of used cars an inside classics and other more valueable cars are sold. It is affiliated with a major dealer but is also a clearing house for individuals who own such vehicles to sell them without having to park it outside in the front yard or advertise in a newspaper.

    If I find a website I'll post it.

  10. #10
    The Walmart contact is a big help. Thanks so much!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    In Laramie, wyoming, a charter school moved into the abandoned walmart. They planned on it being temporary, but have stayed for a little while longer because their $ for a new building is on hold.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Greeley, Colorado has an old KMart that has been split and houses a bingo hall and a pizza joint. The rest is waiting to be leased, but at least they are trying.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  13. #13
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    An old Sam's Club here has been turned into an indoor kart racing track. Apparently it is so popular they are considering more.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian thestip's avatar
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    In Lackawanna a Kmart was turned into a charter school, at the end of my street the supermarket was turned into a brewery, and several others have been subdivided into smaller stores. The brewery is my favorite though, there is nothing better than walking to the end of your street and getting a fresh gallon jug of beer!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian pandersen's avatar
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    factory hog barn!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by pandersen
    factory hog barn!

    grow - op
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    They are often discussed as potential sites for telemarketing companies. I have also heard of one converted to a movie theater, but I do not recall where that was. It was in Wisconsin or Minnesota, I think. Chet?
    I'm not familiar with that one. Around here the model is becoming big box tear down and replacement with another big box:

    Clipped from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - with full credit due to them - due to their lame site registration requirement:

    Incredible Hulks: In real estate jargon, they're called big boxes: supermarkets, discounters and other retailers with stores big enough to fit two football fields inside.
    Photos/Benny Sieu


    At 7401 W. Good Hope Road, a closed Kmart and an empty lot.



    Empty store spaces await filling in West Allis.



    Construction continues on the foundation of a Home Depot at 150 W. Holt Ave.


    Empty big boxes draw high-volume retailers

    Besides offering a cornucopia of low-cost goods, they bring jobs and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in property tax revenue to communities. But when stores close, the buildings become eyesores.

    A pair of Wal-Mart stores in Waukesha County will be relocated, for instance, and that has some people concerned. One store at the I-43 and Highway 83 interchange will go dark when Wal-Mart moves across the interstate to a bigger building next year, leaving a big empty box at a key location.

    "It's a gateway to the community," Mukwonago Village Clerk Bernard Kahl said.

    As retailers, such as Wal-Mart, retool their strategies or others, like Kmart, shutter stores, the question arises whether one big box can be replaced by another. Nationally, communities have struggled to fill vacant spaces, but local real estate brokers say there is a different dynamic to the Milwaukee market.

    "We really don't have a tremendous amount of vacant big boxes" in the Milwaukee area, said broker Dan Rosenfeld of Mid-America Real Estate Group.

    To some extent, that's because retail space in Milwaukee has avoided the frenzied overdevelopment that occurred in faster-growing metro areas, Rosenfeld said.

    Also, many Milwaukee suburbs that would normally draw retail development to vacant parcels have adopted an attitude against additional megastores, he said. Some community officials believe the stores generate too much traffic and present a bland, unappealing face to the public.

    Zoning regulations have reduced the number of available locations for large retailers. And that helps drive up the purchase price for developable parcels by restricting supply.

    "Good locations are few and far between," said David Devorkin, a broker for Polacheck Co.

    As a result, retailers are forced to take a closer look at reusing space instead of building from scratch.

    A 122,000-square-foot former Kmart at 7401 W. Good Hope Road has been empty since last year. Kmart Holding Corp. closed four Milwaukee-area stores while it was reorganizing in bankruptcy court.

    Home Depot Inc. will buy the building, demolish it and build a 103,000-square-foot store, the equivalent of almost 21/2 acres, in its place. The project will include extensive landscaping and two other smaller retail buildings to break up the prairie-of-asphalt parking lot that separates the store from Good Hope Road.

    That change will transform "an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan," said Ald. Robert Puente, whose district includes the site.

    "You always will have shifting," Devorkin said.

    Meanwhile, two other former Kmarts have found new life: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. this summer opened a store within a former Kmart at 15333 W. National Ave., New Berlin. Also, United Migrant Opportunity Services Inc., a social services agency, is converting a building at 2701 S. Chase Ave., Milwaukee, into its new headquarters. Only the former Grafton store, 1969 Wisconsin Ave., is still empty.

    Wal-Mart in 2005 plans to build combined supermarket-discount stores in Germantown and Mukwonago. Once completed, Wal-Mart will move out of discount stores at W18515 County Line Road, Menomonee Falls, and near the northwest corner of I-43 and Highway 83, Mukwonago.

    The Wal-Mart in Menomonee Falls is within a thriving shopping center that includes a Pick 'n Save supermarket.

    "There will be tenants lining up to take that space" when Wal-Mart leaves, Devorkin said.

    But Mukwonago officials are nervous about the future of their Wal-Mart, which is housed in a stand-alone, 80,000-square-foot building owned by an affiliate of New York-based Benenson Realty Co. It's the largest retail building in Mukwonago, said Kahl, the village clerk and administrator.

    Village officials have contacted Wal-Mart periodically to monitor the retailer's search for new tenants.

    Wal-Mart, which will build its new store near the southeast corner of I-43 and Highway 83, didn't return calls seeking comment.

    The village might have some leverage if it suspects Wal-Mart is dragging its feet on finding new uses for the building. Under a development agreement with Wal-Mart, Kahl said the village could order the building's demolition if new tenants aren't found within six months of it becoming vacant. Wal-Mart and Benenson would then lose most of their economic stake in the property.

    "You have to give them some incentive to get going," Kahl said.

  18. #18
    Our vacant Winn-Dixie has been reused by a medical partnership, of which 16,000 sq. ft. is medical, and the remaining 29,000 sq. ft. will be retail sales/service.

    In the neighboring city, Kroger recently remodeled a vacant Kmart. Kmart re-occupied a vacant Home Quarters (much prefered by me over the big orange box). Other vacant in-line boxes are hot because that town is getting a 200,000 Bass Masters in Spring '05.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
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  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    We've had a charter school, go-kart racing, auction houses, flea markets, other big boxes....one was turned into indoor storage lockers...furniture warehouses...those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Most of the uses have been ones that can use the existing structure with fairly minimal (or no) interior or exterior modification. We haven't had too many plazas or strip centers morphed from big boxes yet.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  20. #20

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    Here is the ULTIMATE re-use concept

    K-MART as the ultimate "loft conversion" (Joel Garreau, Edge Cities fame)

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3...cities_pr.html

    "Somebody had to be the first to look at an abandoned New England textile mill and realize it would make a great condominium. Somebody had to be the first to look at an old SoHo sweatshop and realize it would make a great artists loft.
    Just so, in the near future, somebody realizes what a great space an old Kmart is - 80,000 square feet with

    16-foot ceilings and killer HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Then he or she realizes you can get them for nothing from the Resolution Trust Corporation - and the first edge-city bohemian district is born.

    First the artists break the space into lavish 5,000-square-foot sculptors studios. Then they punch skylights into the roof to let natural light into the interior. Then they do the sensible thing and start living there illegally.

    They place sculptures and anything else they can think of on the roof, although the windmills quickly become cliché. When all the really great space in the Kmart is full, other people start filling the former drugstores and dry cleaners of the abandoned shopping center with funky bars, savory restaurants, computer-arts master printers, and the shady dens of CD-ROM pressers. The exteriors of the buildings are painted in intriguing ways. Think Berkeley, California - or better yet, its neighbor, Emeryville."

  21. #21
    New Berlin Wi had a giant Sports Retailer go out of business. It is now a multi-tenant office building with a major insurance firm as the primary tenant. It is a prime example of why architectural styandards are key. The exterior was brick and had nice features like a nice entrance, great landscaping, and monument signage. As a result of these standards the transformation from retail to office was fairly seamless for the exterior. The interior needed signficant alterations.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  22. #22
    The loft conversion sounds interesting, although given the architectural character of the typical big box, I'm just not sure this would be the kind of place I would want to live.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally posted by OhioPlanner
    The loft conversion sounds interesting, although given the architectural character of the typical big box, I'm just not sure this would be the kind of place I would want to live.
    Ah-but a crumbling, dirty, rat-infested brick mill building was not very attractive in 1965, either (although there is far more detail and architectural quality in an eastern mill than in a tilt-up, imo). BUt, it just takes a little vision and some investment. Better this sceanrio than another bingo hall.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    K-MART as the ultimate "loft conversion" (Joel Garreau, Edge Cities fame)

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3...cities_pr.html

    "Somebody had to be the first to look at an abandoned New England textile mill and realize it would make a great condominium. Somebody had to be the first to look at an old SoHo sweatshop and realize it would make a great artists loft.
    Just so, in the near future, somebody realizes what a great space an old Kmart is - 80,000 square feet with

    16-foot ceilings and killer HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Then he or she realizes you can get them for nothing from the Resolution Trust Corporation - and the first edge-city bohemian district is born.

    First the artists break the space into lavish 5,000-square-foot sculptors studios. Then they punch skylights into the roof to let natural light into the interior. Then they do the sensible thing and start living there illegally.

    They place sculptures and anything else they can think of on the roof, although the windmills quickly become cliché. When all the really great space in the Kmart is full, other people start filling the former drugstores and dry cleaners of the abandoned shopping center with funky bars, savory restaurants, computer-arts master printers, and the shady dens of CD-ROM pressers. The exteriors of the buildings are painted in intriguing ways. Think Berkeley, California - or better yet, its neighbor, Emeryville."
    That sure is a seductive scenario you cooked up there BKM; I'm all for it.

    You think you could get it through the regulatory hogwash?

    When pigs fly.

    And you wanted to be a planner!

    Didn't they tell you?

    .

  25. #25
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    At FSU they have turned an old big box next to campus into classrooms. I think it is for the anthropology dept.

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