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Thread: "Urban Market" mall missing the point.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    "Urban Market" mall missing the point.

    This was in today's Sun Times.

    South Loop's Whole Foods to anchor urban market

    ^-- Actual headline

    http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...n-whole18.html

    The five-level Southgate Market mall will house 15 retailers, including Linens 'n Things, Office Depot, a Bank of America branch and discount shoe retailer DSW. The mall will include parking for 1,100 cars.
    Have we so debased or concept of urbanity that a mall containing Whole Foods and "Linens 'n Things" is now considered to be an "Urban Market"? Why don't we have things like Toronto's St. Lawrence market here? Everything's compartmentalized, corporatized, and infinitely reproducible.

    This follows on the heels of an article a bit ago about the destruction of Maxwell Street Market and how the new condo development that replaced it (with Kinkos and Jamba Juice as tenants) feels “so much safer” to UIC students from the far suburbs.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    This was in today's Sun Times.

    South Loop's Whole Foods to anchor urban market

    ^-- Actual headline

    http://www.suntimes.com/output/busin...n-whole18.html



    Have we so debased or concept of urbanity that a mall containing Whole Foods and "Linens 'n Things" is now considered to be an "Urban Market"? Why don't we have things like Toronto's St. Lawrence market here? Everything's compartmentalized, corporatized, and infinitely reproducible.

    This follows on the heels of an article a bit ago about the destruction of Maxwell Street Market and how the new condo development that replaced it (with Kinkos and Jamba Juice as tenants) feels “so much safer” to UIC students from the far suburbs.
    Well, you have generations who have never really spent any time in the chaos and confusion of a real city (like Maxwell Street). Plus, the big boxes have pretty much colonized the suburbs, so the few vibrant cities are the remaining fertile markets. They will do well there.

    Confession: I do like Whole Paycheck markets Linens and Things? Gag me.

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    man....the name's just marketing....all this will be is a vertical power center.

    the major problem....it's location is not excatly in the middle of the neighborhood and therefore will be mostly geared toward drivers, which just encourages more cars on the streets.

    AS for the creation of real markets....I really do think that they are needed. There was a development on N. Clark in Lincoln Park (1 block south of Fullerton) that would have made a great location for an urban market. It was an old CTA bus barn, and therefore a large parcel in the middle of the neighborhood. It would have been very successfull, imho. But the CTA sold it to a developer instead that built a mixed-use condo building that has a Best Buy on the ground floor, a Sunrise Assisted Living facility, and a handfull of very expensive single family houses.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    This follows on the heels of an article a bit ago about the destruction of Maxwell Street Market and how the new condo development that replaced it (with Kinkos and Jamba Juice as tenants) feels “so much safer” to UIC students from the far suburbs.
    This is sort of the reverse of the people who move to the exurban suburbs then complain about the pig farm next door or how the government services suck. They all seem to be proud however about how much house they get for their taxes out there.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    man....the name's just marketing....all this will be is a vertical power center.

    the major problem....it's location is not excatly in the middle of the neighborhood and therefore will be mostly geared toward drivers, which just encourages more cars on the streets.
    True, the developer calls it "urban center" only because it's in an urban area, and it's a retail center.

    The City of Chicago has missed the boat on Roosevelt Road. It's becoming a corporate retail jungle that will forever be a traffic headache.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Have we so debased or concept of urbanity that a mall containing Whole Foods and "Linens 'n Things" is now considered to be an "Urban Market"? Why don't we have things like Toronto's St. Lawrence market here? Everything's compartmentalized, corporatized, and infinitely reproducible.
    I think it is because people have forgotten how to be entrepreneurs and how to be independent businessmen. People go thru their whole lives working for corporations and entities, rather than ever going it alone (which had been very common in the past).

  7. #7
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    I think it is because people have forgotten how to be entrepreneurs and how to be independent businessmen. People go thru their whole lives working for corporations and entities, rather than ever going it alone (which had been very common in the past).
    I contend that retail is so very saturated that the risk to start your own business is too high. It's not that we don't have able businessmen, the risks are just so high and it's tough to battle a corporate retail outlet with its national exposure, high-dollar advertising, etc.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Well, districts like 22nd street or even what's left of Maxwell St. (Which is a Sunday market on Canal St) prove that there are people willing to set up stands and make a go of it on their own. To have a nice space to do it would be a big plus. And there are thousands and thousands of local proprietors in this town. In fact, the developer of Maxwell St. has said that he doesn't want very many local shops there because he wants the chains to "ensure financial success," because Maxwell St. was an unmitigated failure over the course of its 90+ years, dontyaknow.

    Developers also don't like to build retail space because rents are much lower than housing, and when they do make it they prefer to lease out to national chains who can pay much higher rent. Local shops get the leavings.

    The problem isn't that there aren't people willing to set up their own shop but rather, that the economy is structured to ensure their failure.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    I contend that retail is so very saturated that the risk to start your own business is too high. It's not that we don't have able businessmen, the risks are just so high and it's tough to battle a corporate retail outlet with its national exposure, high-dollar advertising, etc.
    Heck, it's being structured so that even large regional trains fail now. I've read marketing studies that indicate that when the new Super Wal-Marts move into a mid sized market, three or four conventional supermarkets go dark.

    As for entrepeneurs, it's tough to own your own business. It's just easier to assimilate with the international Borg collectives. Or work for a government.

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