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Thread: Big box stores finally trying to "blend in"

  1. #1
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Big box stores finally trying to "blend in"

    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
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    I've noticed the newer Targets around me looking better and better all the time. For home improvement, Lowe's still trumps Home Depot and seems a lot more willing to work with local officials. As for Wal-Marts, well, you can use all the exterior brick in the world on the outside, but that ugly, giant sign still has to stick out somewhere. Nice to hear that they're trying though.
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Hmmm ... an article from the Michigan Land Use Institute about architectural and site planning issues related to big box stores, and it's in Economic Development. Didn't you mean to post this in the Zoning subforum? I'll move it there.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Moderator note:
    Hmmm ... an article from the Michigan Land Use Institute about architectural and site planning issues related to big box stores, and it's in Economic Development. Didn't you mean to post this in the Zoning subforum? I'll move it there.
    Sorry, I can't always figure out where topics should go on here. I figured it fell under "commercial revitalization" and "site selection".
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

  5. #5
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Coragus
    ...seems a lot more willing to work with local officials...
    So, the big boxes are coming around and starting to work with local officials. What happens when the municipality doesn't have enough backbone to say what they want or enforce their own Zoning Codes. This is the problem I'm having here and I'm getting SO discouraged. The laws are out there, they are just not being enforced or big boxes (and everyone else for that matter) are given variances for EVERYTHING, because the City just doesn't have the foggiest as to what the Zoning Ordinances are there for!!

    Back on topic: It's about time! I've been saying that corporate America should not dictate our communities! Some municipalities are taking a stand with their Ordinances and making a difference. These are the communities I want to live (and work) in!!
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    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.”
    I love this. Who said they had to build the box in the first place? I know our ords don't mandate a 100,000 sq ft gray-blue box. Why couldn't they have been flexible before? Agreed, the Targets and Wallies etc are looking better, but why did they have to be so bland/obtrusive to begin with? Who says corporate identity must be established by building massive boxes, and once everyone recognizes them, they can get creative and actually fit in with the area's context, or perhaps even improve it?

    Sorry, rant off, it's a pet peeve of mine.
    I don't dream. I plan.

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