I've been waiting a long time for this to become the new trend. It looks as if it's well on it's way. We know the large, corporate chains are not going to go away... but at least they are finally making an effort to blend into the neighborhoods:
One of the strongest signals yet of how fundamental the shift in “big-box only” retail doctrine may be came at the International Council of Shopping Centers last December. Robert Stoker, senior real estate manager for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., declared, “We've reached a stage where we can be flexible. We no longer have to build a gray-blue battleship box.”
Mr. Stoker cited several examples of the world’s largest retailer bending its once-rigid design formula to fit into existing neighborhoods, new mixed use developments, and even a high-rise. For the retail development world, it was as though the pope had changed the words in the Lord’s Prayer.Another large retailer, Target Corporation, was among the earliest to employ a more compact model. The company’s flagship store in Minneapolis has four stories, and the chain has two-story stores with parking structures in Atlanta, Gaithersburg, Md., and other places. Home Depot recently opened a three-story store in downtown Chicago. Wal-Mart has a two-story outlet in a mixed-use setting in Long Beach, Calif., and will soon occupy two floors of a mixed-use high-rise in Rego, N.Y.
Full Article: http://www.mlui.org/growthmanagement...p?fileid=16919