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Thread: Resources for a lit review regarding reuse of "corporate/logo-type" buildings??

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    Resources for a lit review regarding reuse of "corporate/logo-type" buildings??

    Hey there, I'm currently pursuing an MA in Geography & Environmental Studies, and am at that stage where I must decide a thesis topic. The topic that I am most interested in studying thus far is comparing the resale value of buildings designed for corporate branding purposes (in the form of "logo buildings" like those seen occupied by Mcdonald's, Pizza Hut, etc.) to nearby available commercial property. My impression is that these buildings are likely less desirable for reuse (lower property value [adjusted for size], longer time unoccupied) than the other forms of available commercial property nearby.
    The problem is that I cannot find ANY information about this topic online. Can anyone lead me to some good sources? I don't even know how to search for similar papers, because I'm not sure what the exact term for these buildings are. Even so, I have scanned online for at least an hour and a half, and have found squat. If anyone would be willing to help, it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

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    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Interesting premise. Hope you're able to find information on the topic. My comment from the peanut gallery is that I would theorize that other factors such as site location, size of lot, ownership or lease by the corporate entity, and then if owned by the corporate entity, their reputation for willingness to sell off the land if they shut their business down, or hold on to the land and let it sit vacant (think Wal-Mart) -- they are all greater factors than whether a prototype building is used.

    In the circle of corporate life, I always see buildings scraped or re-used with either heavy remodeling (such as large restaurants being subdivided into several fast casual restaurants), or hardly any remodeling at all (there's a Chinese buffet or pawn shop/check cashing business that can exist in any old building.)

    I've yet to see an instance where a unique size or prototype of a building renders reuse of the building problematic. If Ikea where ever to close a store, only then might it pose that dilemma. Just yesterday I found out that a closed up The Great Indoors (is this business ever busy?) is being converted to a Fry's Electronics store where I used to live in Vegas -- the circle of life in action.

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    Urbane - I'm not doubting that "logo buildings" can be converted for other commercial uses, but I suspect that a building that can be easily identified to their former occupants (the "hut" shape of that building clearly indicates that it once was a Pizza Hut) would result in less interest in its purchase, and hence a lower resale value than neighboring commercial property. Of course there are other factors at play in determining the asking price of a property, and this is something which I would have to take into account for.

  4. #4
    I can't provide a list for lit review because I doubt the subject has been studied, mostly because the branding of these buildings is typically easily reversible. Most fast food buildings are generally designed with a short (12-15 yr) horizon because brands change, neighborhoods change, and customer expectations change. The buildings need to be adaptable relatively inexpensively or over-head costs are going to cut into profits. Adding iconic hats or arches or what have you has long since passed by the wayside in my experience.

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    Perhaps some of these buildings are easily adaptable, but that is not necessarily the case for many. I'm sure many of you can think of some companies that have had to awkwardly locate their business in buildings that were clearly identifiable to its former owners. While it may be feasible to simply remove remnants of the original design from the building for some, for many former IHOPs, White Castles, or Pizza Huts, it's not that easy. Just a stroll through this website will attest to that - http://www.notfoolinganybody.com/schmindex.html
    Besides, having to remove signage or other branding is an extra cost for the incoming business. Sure, franchise architecture has reduced a good portion of the kitschy frills that Robert Venturi embraced (with sophomoric irony) in "Learning from Las Vegas", but most of these companies still use templates that result in uniform building designs that are dreadfully banal and insensitive to regional vernaculars.

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    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    I guess I'm not understanding what the constraints are to scraping or remodelling other than money (hopefully not historic preservation). If the former White Castle/IHOP/Pizza Hut is in a prime location, I would think another national corporation would find interest on the property and would happily scrape and rebuild or do a major remodel to get their prototype.

    If the location isn't as ideal, it may not attract the new "in thing" nationally, but will attract the "interim" use which may very well keep the prototype building intact. We all know them anything from payday loans, bail bonds, ma & pa restaurants, & minority businesses. The bad examples on the site do seem to generally fit this instance.

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Try getting ahold of a copy of Retrofitting Suburbia.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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