Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hell Freezes Over

Robert Stoker, senior real estate manager for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., declared, “We've reached a stage where we can be flexible. We no longer have to build a gray-blue battleship box.”
Wow. That's from the Michigan Land Use Institute. The author of the article commented, "it was as though the Pope had changed the words in the Lord’s Prayer." Here's more:
Pushing the change [toward better urban design standards for big retailers] are savvy local government officials who realize that, for urban and inner suburban neighborhoods, attracting major retail stores and mixing them correctly with residential development revitalizes communities. And some retailers are responding by locating their businesses within those communities, not just at the end of expressway ramps.

Do we have any of those savvy local government officials around here?

I had a conversation not long ago with a high-level city employee who told me that Greensboro just isn't able to get big retailers to "break" -- that is, to build something to a higher design standard than a cinder block box in a puddle of asphalt. Hmmm. But has anyone actually tried to get them to break?

If they can do it in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in Rego, New York, and in Charlotte (scroll down to see their new Office Depot), why can't we do it here?

Greensboro will soon be getting two new Wal-Marts. Will they be "gray-blue battleship boxes?" C'mon, you savvy local government officials. Get busy. We can do better.

3 comments:

David Boyd said...

Plus it's probably in Walmart's interest to do it. They need to reach new types of customers. Building more attractive stores in unconventional locations (for Walmart) will be a good experiment for them. Hopefully they'd be pleasantly surprised.

David Wharton said...

Wal-Mart will go where the money is, I think. And a lot of the money seems to be moving back into cities and older suburbs.

diane said...

A recent article in the N&R stated that Wal-Mart is building some 'green' stores using alternative energy sources and other ecologically -friendly features.

I am not sure who should approach whom about the possibility of using some of that technology in the store planned at the site of the old Carolina Circle Shopping Center in Greensboro.

Now, there is a possible use of public/private cooperation that could help the pollution problems in our area.

diane