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Thread: How big can the big boxes go?

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    How big can the big boxes go?

    Last week, Nebraska Furniture Mart opened up a 712,000 square foot store in scruffy Kansas City, Kansas.

    Yes. Seven hundred and twelve thousand. That's about 70,000 square meters for our friends in civilized countries that use the metric system. Take one of the rare Ikea stores in the US. Triple the size. That's Nebraska Furniture Mart. It's located next to a 200,000 square foot Cabela's store. (For those outside the US, Cabela's is a hunting, fishing and camping supply company known for their mail order catalog.)



    Today, I bought a couple of Arts and Crafts-style solid oak desks for the home office from NFM. The price can't be beat; US$150 each. On other items in the store, prices are very competitive with other big boxen in the Kansas City area. Product quality is high, too. The place was packed, and people were buying; they weren't just gawking at the sight of the behemoth.

    I'm curious whether we've seen the last of supersizing big box stores or not. After seeing NFM, my opinion is no. In the near future, will Wal-Mart abandon their aircraft hangar-sized, 200,000 square foot Super Centers like they fled from the 100,000 square foot Discount City format stores, and move into even bigger buildings?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Re: How big can the big boxes go?

    Originally posted by Dan
    Today, I bought a couple of Arts and Crafts-style solid oak desks for the home office from NFM. The price can't be beat; US$150 each.


    It's all good.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    At 712 000 square feet that is bigger then the area of both malls in my city combined and nearly the size of the region's largest shopping mall. As wal mart and the other boxes expand and provide more and more services, it seems like all they are doing is changing the shape and ownership pattern of the mall "merchants".
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I wish they had one of those furniture stores around here. I am also hopeful that our Wal-Mart will be expanded in the near future.

  5. #5

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    We are maybe 20-30 years from getting the Super-Mega-Jumbo-Monster (SMJM) Big Box store. There will be just one in each metro area of the US, and they will be about 28 million square feet in size -- about one square mile.

    The SMJMs will cater to every retail, commercial and entertainment need for everyone in an entire metro area. They will have their own public transit shuttling shoppers from the intimate apparel section, for example, to the sports bar. And it will all be under one ownership.

    Talk about a category killer.

    Wal-Mart and Target are leading a host of other big box businesses in the race to build the Big One.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Holy! 700,000 s.f.? I can't even really imagine that... I think the new Ikea here in edmonton is about half that size at 311,000 s.f.... and even that seems huge to me.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    What happens with the building once the owners dont use it anymore? Heck re-using normal big-boxes is hard many times.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

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    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    maybe there will be a trend to gut old malls... and make them into one huge honking store...

    .... I don't think we have that much square footage of retail space in one of our towns....
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by PlannerGirl
    What happens with the building once the owners dont use it anymore?
    Planned obsolencense baby. Use 'em and tear 'em down. They've been fully depreciated. No longer an asset. Who cares, move on.

    I'm only being partly sarcastic.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I think stores that big will have a very limited useful life.
    It's hard enough to find anything in a super wal-mart as it is and you're talking about tripling the size?

    I think that's the point that people just avoid them.

    I dread going to Ikea b/c of how long it takes to get in and out of there. If someone drags me to Target i'll normally just stay in the car.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    I suppose it's not forbiden to ride a bike or segway in one of those mamoths or is it? 'cause you have a serious problem of mobility there...

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by SkeLeton
    I suppose it's not forbiden to ride a bike or segway in one of those mamoths or is it? 'cause you have a serious problem of mobility there...
    Skel, I think you have just hit on one of the best uses for a Segway that I have heard.

    I would think these buildings would be easily converted to distribution or industrial uses.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    I would think these buildings would be easily converted to distribution or industrial uses.
    brilliant. passing the BN.com distribution center on the NJ turnpike takes a good 30 to 40 seconds - and that's travelling 70-80 mph.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  14. #14
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    The super huge mongo big boxes turn "shopping" into a thing acquisition exercise; whereas, shopping has traditionally been a social event. It's my guess that shopping will turn back into a social event sometime in the next decade -- and we planners will get to answer the question "how do we re-use a building with 15 acres under roof?" How about an indoor climate controlled subdivision? Or perhaps we could have a faux natural campground with astro turf, astro trees, and astro bugs. The possibilities are endless.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Originally posted by Wulf9
    Or perhaps we could have a faux natural campground with astro turf, astro trees, and astro bugs. The possibilities are endless.
    After 4 years of camping in Florida with my son's cub scout pack, I think this would be a good thing. Air-conditioned camping! (sigh)

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