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Thread: Looking for opposition to lifestyle centers

  1. #1
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    Looking for opposition to lifestyle centers

    I am wondering if anyone is familiar with a case where a lifestyle center is being opposed due to fear of cannibalizing existing retail and for a general belief that shopping is evil? I am being questioned by the press if there are other examples in thew Country similar to the situation we have in our town. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by TOFB
    I am wondering if anyone is familiar with a case where a lifestyle center is being opposed due to fear of cannibalizing existing retail and for a general belief that shopping is evil? I am being questioned by the press if there are other examples in thew Country similar to the situation we have in our town. Thanks.
    Best example is in Glendale, California. General Growth Properties tried to block Caruso Affiliates development across the street. Another battle is happening in Arcadia, California, where Westfield is employing a variety of tactics to block planned Caruso lifestyle center.

    Almost without exception, large mall owners are behind the opposition. These big mall owners would rather spend $5 million blocking fresh competition than spend $20 million improving their own mall. Tactics include:

    - Telling prospective lifestyle center retailers that, if they lease space at the lifestyle center, they will be kicked out of all the big mall owner’s malls
    - Launching an appeal of every permit that is granted
    - Spending millions to bankroll opposition groups that masquerade as concerned citizens organizations. Do you really think these so-called concerned neighbors are willing to use their own $ to oppose a project?
    - Hiring a public relations firm to pose as a concerned citizen by writing letters to the editor opposing the project.
    - Changing municipal laws via referendum so that the new laws effective ban the lifestyle center. Financing a direct mail campaign timed right before the referendum vote that attacks the competitive project.

    The big mall owners have prevented the development of many small retail projects using these tactics. Smaller developers can't afford to pay the millions - often tens of millions - of legal and consulting fees required to get a project approved today because if their project is rejected, that $ is lost forever. That is why the retail real estate market is increasingly dominated by the largest, most ruthless players.

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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    would that sort of behavior not be prosecutable under US anti-trust laws?
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    would that sort of behavior not be prosecutable under US anti-trust laws?
    Maybe. Right now, General Growth Properties is defending an anti-trust lawsuit related to their Glendale behavior. Bad stuff turned up during the discovery phase.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    I suspect our current mall owner has something to do with the organized opposition.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    would that sort of behavior not be prosecutable under US anti-trust laws?
    hah. this is year 6 of W. antitrust is objectively pro-terrorist.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by Luca
    would that sort of behavior not be prosecutable under US anti-trust laws?
    I was wondering this as well, would that not be prosecutable here in the US?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    You guys (planners and governments) set the rules, don't be surprised when people or groups take advantage of them to protect their self-interest. Those examples cited are just aggressive business play, not anything illegal. If there were not so many rules and hoops to jump through, the smaller developers would have a better shot at success.

    There's a big astroturf campaign (i.e., fake grassroots) in progress here in DFW area, with American Airlines funding several BS groups to try to keep the Wright Amendment restrictions in place on a local airport, to keep AA's virtual monopoly. Now if there hadn't been the government interference at the start, all the parties would face the same rules and the best provider would win.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy
    You guys (planners and governments) set the rules, don't be surprised when people or groups take advantage of them to protect their self-interest. Those examples cited are just aggressive business play, not anything illegal. If there were not so many rules and hoops to jump through, the smaller developers would have a better shot at success.

    There's a big astroturf campaign (i.e., fake grassroots) in progress here in DFW area, with American Airlines funding several BS groups to try to keep the Wright Amendment restrictions in place on a local airport, to keep AA's virtual monopoly. Now if there hadn't been the government interference at the start, all the parties would face the same rules and the best provider would win.
    Is your contention that without any government intervention/regualtion there would be no collusive cartel, abusive/aggressive monopolies or barriers to competition?

    a) That's historically demonstrably untrue.
    b) Since, for a number of reasons, there will always be some sort of government, the key is how do we avoid having ill-intentioned parties misusing it to stifle competition?

    Bear in mind that I have actually researched both sides of antitrust economics and I realize that a nuanced view is necessary.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  10. #10
    Cyburbian yesteryear's avatar
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    Caruso has been in Albany, CA (East Bay Area) for over a year now with plans to build another of these lifestyle centers... community members and others are in opposition for reasons that are both environmental as well as having to do with preserving the existing local economy (Albany has a very charming main street it shares with neighboring Berkeley that features many upscale restaurants and shops). The only difference here is there is no existing mall in Albany to act in opposition in a large way. There is a newish shopping center in neighboring El Cerrito - but planning being as fractured as it is here it will be interesting to see which of the larger surrounding cities gets involved in this issue - Albany itself is only a bit larger than one square mile and has a population of only 17,000.

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