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Thread: Has a chain ever pulled out of a project because of strict architectural design standards?

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Has a chain ever pulled out of a project because of strict architectural design standards?

    The title is the subject for discussion: can you think of any instances where a chain retailer restaurant, or hotel pulled out of a project because of the strict application of architectural design regulations?

    In my career as a planner, I've only heard of one instance where a chain bailed on a project because they couldn't get their way with architectural design; a proposed IKEA in Lone Tree, Colorado. IKEA would not budge on their "need" for a big blue box, which the city's planning commission denied. Rather than town down the blue and tweak their prototype design, IKEA gave up on their plans for Lone Tree, and got approval in nearby Centennial.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    The title is the subject for discussion: can you think of any instances where a chain retailer restaurant, or hotel pulled out of a project because of the strict application of architectural design regulations?

    In my career as a planner, I've only heard of one instance where a chain bailed on a project because they couldn't get their way with architectural design; a proposed IKEA in Lone Tree, Colorado. IKEA would not budge on their "need" for a big blue box, which the city's planning commission denied. Rather than town down the blue and tweak their prototype design, IKEA gave up on their plans for Lone Tree, and got approval in nearby Centennial.
    I kinda understand IKEA because their architecture is very iconic and part of their image, OTOH...

    A certain big box warehouse retailer is having a hard time finding a spot in this area that will let them do their typical beige metal warehouse which isn't iconic or nice looking.

    I have heard Cracker Barrel won't go anywhere that doesn't allow pole signs.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

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    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Good for Lone Tree for sticking to its guns. The problem is that if one community doesn't like something they can always go just a few miles away and put it up anyway.

    The argument against this huge uses is simple in my mind. Should IKEA ever go out of business there is really nothing that would thrive in the design of their buildings. It would sit there until it was torn down (and I bet IKEA would be opposed to paying demolition bonds).
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    A national chain dollar store was not willing to meet the fairly strict site planning and finish material requirement for the commerical portion of an approved PUD.

    I think the large ones like IKEA are the outliers. They function on a regional basis for their trade area and locating in one muni versus another 5 miles away doesn't really matter to them.

    Now, the businesses that function on a much smaller/neighborhood level trade area (such as McD, Starbucks, etc.) are usually more willing to flex their designs for the locality, because the specific location is more important (good frontage on sub-regional aterial).
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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    Cyburbian
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    I go back and forth on this issue. As an urban design consultant, I have often represented clients who run into architectural design requirements that seem over the top. These are primarily in affluent neighborhoods such as beach communities or other types of resorts. Its fine if a city wants to have strict design guidelines, they just have to realize that many retailers will just walk away before they even approach the city and go the next city that has less strict guidelines. If they are fine with that, no problem. I have also run into cities that want the retailer for their sales tax base but don't want either their big box or their colors such as in the IKEA example, or the example of Walmart which I have worked with in the past. While its a different issue, I have found that the same municipality that is more than willing to take a Target as is will turn down the thumb screws on the Walmart application that is planned across the street. Target attracts "good" customers. Walmart attracts "bad" customers. As long as the application is applied evenly to every retailer, I have no problem. However, I have seen too many instances where the non standard design and color of a preferred retailer will be allowed when the same standard will be applied to a less preferred retailer.

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    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    I had a chain restaurant agree to follow our commercial design standards, saying, "That's cheaper to build than what we usually do." Might have been cheaper, but it sure looks better.

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    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by smccutchan1 View post
    While its a different issue, I have found that the same municipality that is more than willing to take a Target as is will turn down the thumb screws on the Walmart application that is planned across the street. Target attracts "good" customers. Walmart attracts "bad" customers. .
    I know the one you're refernecing. And all they got out of putting the screws to Walmart were those stupid faux windows. Sometimes we go to far. My personal opinion is that we Muni planners need to leave the design to the designers. The context needs to be broad enough that we don't force things like that WalMart - it's just awful.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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    Cyburbian
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    WDC has a couple mixed commercial office and residential typologies that are basically unbuildable economically. I'm not aware they've found any takers for their ground floor retail + 3 story commercial office + 4 story residential zoning classification yet.

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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    A large international coffee chain threaten to pull out of a deal to relocate because we required certain "architectural" details as well as a toning down of what they called their "coffee expereince" drive-thru.

    We won
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

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    Cyburbian
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    We’ve got a drug store chain up here in Canada that insists on building one-storey buildings in Main Street locations where every other building is two or more storeys, even in places like downtown Toronto. Where municipalities have regulations prohibiting such buildings they will usually, after a lot of arguing and arm-bending, agree to build a fake two storey façade so the building will at least visually match its neighbours. This is because they don’t want to have to deal with being a landlord, even if it could be a profitable proposition. It also affects their “column-free” retail space design. I’ve only seen one case where they were coerced into actually building a functional two-storey building, and that has a medical office above.

    I don’t know if they have ever walked away from a community because they couldn’t build their building. They are certainly a ubiquitous feature of every Canadian city and town.

  11. #11
    BANNED
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    Macy's backed out of the Dalidio Ranch Project in San Luis Obispo because pricing was too high the architecture requirements.

    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/artic...lans-open.html

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    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Not here... they'll go into hysterics as if you ripped their leg off and beat them with it, but, no, ultimately we meet somewhere in the middle and it works out. Usually we end up with a bit more corporate colouring than we had hoped for but its always miles better than what they came in with.

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