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How big can the big boxes go?

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
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17,847
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59
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?
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
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25
Dan said:
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.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
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30
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".
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
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34
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.
 

pete-rock

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1,551
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24
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.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
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6,544
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30
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.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
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6,377
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29
What happens with the building once the owners dont use it anymore? Heck re-using normal big-boxes is hard many times.
 

tsc

Cyburbian
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1,905
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23
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....
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,624
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PlannerGirl said:
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.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
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.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
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4,853
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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...
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
SkeLeton said:
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.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
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23
Cardinal said:
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.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
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.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
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39
Wulf9 said:
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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