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Thread: A big box store done right

  1. #1

    A big box store done right



    Leslie & Lakeshore Canadian Tire

    A 2 storey building complete with Service Centre and a Mark's Work Warehouse component. Parking is at grade below the Canadian Tire store.

    Additional retail component at grade linked to the store and one stand alone building.

    WOW!

  2. #2
    Kobayashi's avatar
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    You say WOW, I say..eh...

    The overall design is still crap. And where is the mixed use? It is good to see them pull up to the curb and have a pedestrian friendly feel to it, but don't let just a few compromises by the big box stores cause you to ignore the big picture.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Looks good, glad to see the parking underground! How big is this thing? Seems smaller than say a US Super K or Wallyworld. We can always do better but good to see a push in the right direction.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  4. #4
    maudit anglais
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    It's better than the usual schlock but there are still some design issues. Canadian Tire is actually one of the best (actually, the best IMHO) big box at designing "urban" stores in Canada. I think this is an older rendering - the City has managed to get some design improvements since this time. And the gas station/car wash use located in the right background has been eliminated.

    PG, I don't recall off hand how big this one is, but I would say it is over 100,000 sq. ft. Not as big as a super-centre, but still pretty big.

    Until two years ago, there was an elevated expressway located above the road on the right side of the picture (Lakeshore Boulevard East). It is amazing how different the area looks now.

    Oh, the former use? Brewer's retail warehouse (The Beer Store)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    mixed opinion

    On the one hand, it IS better than the average you still see in N.A., so maybe being too picky may seem counterproductive.

    OTOH, why did they do that silly diagonal orientation? And that 'gardeny' forecourt? It will never be sued for much, just more space to walk across. I would think you could squeeze the same floor/parking space in a smaller % of its block, and then you'd get your mixed use, hopefully.

    Incidentally, I don't think that EVERY building has to be mixed use; more on an area or maybe block basis.

  6. #6
         
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    It's ok, I wouldnt go as far to say great. The site looks pretty good, better than typical big boxes around here but the design (IMHO) of the structure is not appealing, however it does seem to fit the context of the neighborhood. Too bad there is no masonry or decent building materials being used.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Who convinced them of that goofy orientation? Seems wasteful trying to jam it in diagonally when they could have just had it flush to the corner and oriented to BOTH streets (did no one think of this?). They could even have it flush to the corner, oriented to both streets, with a little chunk out of it at the corner for a mini plaza instead of the enormous thing they constructed in this view.

    *shrug*

  8. #8
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Good lord people, don't you think we're being a little critical here? I think this post was to show that things are moving in the right direction. I think most of us here in the states would be giddy with excitement to have a big box do a design similar to this. We talk about how we want pedestrian plazas, then when someone makes a respectable effort to create one, we get all critical about a "goofy" diagonal orientation. We also don't know what government requirements they had to meet (landscaping requirements, pervious surface requirements, etc.).We need to remember that design tastes vary by region. This looks like it is inkeeping with the neighborhood, so I don't have a problem with it. Also, the building next door looks suspiciously like a condo/apartment building, so there's your mixed use.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    Good lord people, don't you think we're being a little critical here? I think this post was to show that things are moving in the right direction. I think most of us here in the states would be giddy with excitement to have a big box do a design similar to this. We talk about how we want pedestrian plazas, then when someone makes a respectable effort to create one, we get all critical about a "goofy" diagonal orientation. .
    Fair point, but perhaps the 'WOW!' was like a red rag to a bunch of bulls...

    Er...who said that 'pedestrian plazas' are good things per se? All the modernist atrocities, especially the 1960s brutalist outrages in the UK have plenty of 'pedestrain plazas'. When buildings are along a well-travelled autobahn of a road wot's teh use of a mini-plaza? You need plazas in densely built cities (say, like in italy). In the US/Canada?

  10. #10

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    As far as pedestrian orientation-how many people you know WALK to a tire/auto parts store-or, for that matter a garden store? So, worrying about pedestrian orientaiton seems a little off (though understandable) here.

    As for the plaza/garden area-I agree that it will have little use unless programmed with other things (like the ubiquitous hot dog cart and coffee kiosk). It does seem like a waste of space in a dense city environment.

    I would rather have this kind of user shoved off into freeway no-mans lands or light industrial parks.

  11. #11
    Member Nor Cal Planner Girl's avatar
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    It appears to me that this has been designed without taking into consideration what is around it so, it looks kind of clunky. It reminds me of the designs I get when someone is trying to plunk down 10,000 s.f. of buildings (1 dwelling with multiple 'associated' structures) on a pristine hillside... it doesn't fit it, doesn't really work and the architect wasn't taking into consideration the existing surroundings.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian cmd uw's avatar
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    From my perspective it seems like it would have been better if they had oriented the building towards the street corner. The pedestrian plaza seems to serve no purpose at all.

    Regarding the walking aspect, BKM has a point, how many will walk to an autoparts/garden/home store? Although, we can only assume since we don't know the context of the neighbourhood, the fact that it does accommodate the pedestrian, is great.

    Overall, this is a step in the right direction compared to most other big box stores.
    "First we shape our buildings, and then our buildings start shaping us." - Sir Winston Churchill

  13. #13
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Not Bad

    This example is not so bad:

    1. The orientation of the building is one of the best things about this plan. Think about it....the sharp angle at which the building approaches the property line on the left breaks up what would normally be a WALL and also wouldn't allow for the landscape depth and non uniform appearance from that street

    2. The mixed use appears to be in the form of other attached retail uses on the right side of the building as you look at it....?

    3. The glass facade is setback from the road and therefore is not as nasty as it could be fronting directly on the street. The front plane of the building is broken in several places, again less monotony can only help in the case of the big box...

    4. That courtyard is huge in the front and would be a great location for a centerpiece fountain or something, maybe a restaurant could use it for seating in warmer climates....you get my point on this.....could be better used for the public....

    5. It would have helped to place a couple of bays at the entrance of the store for a restaurant and or retail of some kind on the courtyard......
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  14. #14
    maudit anglais
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    The orientation is primarily a result of the triangular shape of the property, which isn't really that noticeable from the rendering.

  15. #15
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner
    The orientation is primarily a result of the triangular shape of the property, which isn't really that noticeable from the rendering.
    So when are you going to fix this site plan, Mr. Tranplanner?

    On a serious note, isn't Lake Shore kind of auto-oriented anyhow? Maybe the plaza is unecessary? But I still like the placement of the parking and the basic placement of the building footprint....it's not automatically inhibiting the pedestrian.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  16. #16
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    So when are you going to fix this site plan, Mr. Tranplanner?
    Hey...I got the stuff I wanted out of the developer

  17. #17
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    The property is triangular? That would explain it.

    And someone responded to me above as being overly critical. I disagree. Pedestrian plaza need not be synonymous with pedestrian friendly. And I beg to differ at the idea of Cdn Tire attracting only customers with cars. No way. They have all sorts of products aside from wheels and tires. Who needs to drive to get wiper blades, or a soccer ball, or a small flower pot, or other such items? If it is a neighbourhood, these items can easily be taken home by foot. I would venture a guess that the majority of items they sell would be things that do not need a car to take home, judging from the stock at Cdn Tires near my home.

    And yes, I have walked to a Cdn Tire to buy things before.

    In terms of the plaza, it certainly makes more sense now given that the property is triangularly-shaped. Still, my concern with it was that Cdn Tire would impose hardline corporate rules that would make it useless in terms of public space - ie no loitering (sounds stupid if you create a plaza, but cases such as this exist where an area EXPRESSLY FOR people has been made so that people are not allowed to linger), nothing that would produce any sort of liability in any form, no children playing with chalk, no dipping your feet in a fountain, no bicycling, no hacky-sack, no street vendors and hot dog vendors, and so forth.

    More likely than not its just a waste of space, but I would be very happy to be proven wrong as the plan is executed.

  18. #18
    WOW... all this negativity. However, I wonder if it's really jealously in disguise because your town/city/county could never hope to get anything near this. Therefore I propose a challenge, prove me wrong! If this is so horrible, post your own example of a better big box hardware store in your town/city/county?


  19. #19
          mentarman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    WOW... all this negativity. However, I wonder if it's really jealously in disguise because your town/city/county could never hope to get anything near this. Therefore I propose a challenge, prove me wrong! If this is so horrible, post your own example of a better big box hardware store in your town/city/county?

    If it's less bad than other big box developments, does that really prove anything? Is it something we should applaud?
    Sure, it's better than most big box development here. But no one's holding the stuff that gets built around here as some sort of shining example. This still has a long way to go, and I think that's what people are saying.
    I think the pedestrian plaza area is horrible. I doubt it will ever be used. It is dead space that is only a little bit better than having parking up front. And the apparent building materials make the facade disappointing.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally posted by mentarman
    If it's less bad than other big box developments, does that really prove anything? Is it something we should applaud?
    Sure, it's better than most big box development here. But no one's holding the stuff that gets built around here as some sort of shining example. This still has a long way to go, and I think that's what people are saying.
    I think the pedestrian plaza area is horrible. I doubt it will ever be used. It is dead space that is only a little bit better than having parking up front. And the apparent building materials make the facade disappointing.
    We don't live in a utopia society. Under your logic, we should not celebrate anything since it would not be perfect. This is a huge, huge improvement over the traditional big box stores, and you have to accept the fact that big box stores will continue to be built, so why not build them better. Again, if your town has something better, I'd like to see it.

  21. #21

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    Your original post was that this is an exemplar for big box development. Our ciriticism is not utopian-it is that the project may not be even very good.

    Given limited money and limited resources and limited political energy, is this a model we would want to replicate in our communities? That pedestrian plaza is not a good model for companies that do not have deep pockets or a commitment to maintenance. In such cases, the plaza will be poorly maintained and an absolute blight on the community. It is not utopian to note that this does not solve many of the issues presented by Big Box users (detailing, materials, scale, urban form). It is certainly not the worst example (I'm not sure a parking lot up front would be better myself-so I'll give it that much). But, it is not as exemplary as, say, the two story urban Target with windows and doorways right up next to the sidewalk.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I don't think this is so bad. Look behind the building. That industrial district, with metal or concrete buildings, vast areas of asphalt, and loading docks is not all that attractive. This does not appear to be a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood, but a commercial-industrial district. The new building and site plan may have their faults, but I would guess they are better than most of what surrounds them.

    The plaza is not a problem for me. From a practical standpoint, it looks as if it will preserve good visibility on a tight corner. If the store is like most others, it can use the space for its garden plants and other retail displays, although tastefully, and not just outdoor starage I hope. The facade is broken up and offers a good deal more transparency than most. I do not know the materials, though, and I expect there may be too much use of block for my own taste. On the whole, I would say this is a good project.
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  23. #23

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    Cardinal does make some good points (Heck, I noted that big boxes should probably be in industrial districts-which this may be.)

  24. #24
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    There is definitely a lot of critique on the plaza concept here, which from a pedestrian orientation or 'traditional' neighborhood view may be valid, but from a corporate retail point-of-view it actually makes perfect sense. Retailers, and big box stores in particular, crave visibility. By angling the building and setting it back from the street that is what they get. People will remember that there is a Canadian Tire at the intersection because they can't miss it. I applaud them for making it a landscaped plaza instead of a parking lot.
    To the guy that complained that only rich developers could afford the plaza, I present the argument that in fact it is in the rational self-interest of any big-box developer to become the focal point of such a plaza.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Considering that the road it fronts on is Lakeshore, the plaza will probably be used. This area has lots of cyclists, runners and walkers going past it, who might want to stop for a break.

    TP, might be time for a trip with the digital camera.

    As for teh quality of work done by CDN Tire, they are some of the easiest and most responsive people to deal with.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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