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colin

Big Box Stores

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There's an article in today's Daily Star about a developer scrapping plans because the City Council was not receptive to letting in a "big box" retail outlet.

Developer cancels 'big box' on S. Side

Tucson is one of many cities (Flagstaff is also on that list) that has a so-called "Big Box Ordinance." Tucson's applies to any retail store over 100,000 square feet. It was passed in 1999, but was almost immediately waived in 2000 for the big box Super Target and Super-Dooper Home Depot now residing at El Con Mall. However, it did stop a Wal-Mart Supercenter from moving into Rita Ranch last year, this despite Wal-Mart's attempt to get a waiver. Wal-Mart also sued the city in 2000 over the ordinance, saying that there was no legal basis for the law and that it was only designed to keep competition away from grocery stores. This seems to be a habit, as there was a much more public Wal-Mart v. Flagstaff a couple of years ago.

The Tucson area now has four Wal-Mart Supercenters, only one of which is in the city limits (and which, I believe, was built before '99).

In the Valley, Scottsdale also has a similar ordinance (which makes sense), but Phoenix doesn't seem to.

Any thoughts on ordinances like this? Should Phoenix adopt one? What about other Valley cities like Glendale, Mesa and Chandler? What about Prescott, where land and traffic issues are starting to come to the surface?

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I don't think the valley could, since there are so so many of these stores already in place. I have to tell you though, I like any place that sticks it to Walmart. What a bunch of hellbound greedy whores.

Walmart would sell my grandmother if they could make a profit off of her.

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if people want to cultivate urban culture in the 'cities' that have grown in the desert out here, then yes. everyone complains about the homogeneity - all the stores look the same in every town, etc. that's a problem, but i think the bigger problems are 1) big box stores' need for fringe development in order to accommodate parking and to obtain laxer zoning codes and tax obligations; 2) the incredibly wasteful parking areas, which hijack land use in such a way that nothing can grow up anywhere near a big-box store, 3) the setback nature of store siting, which puts the store away from a road and dead in the middle of a lot (a lot of residents demand this, but it's their loss - cities don't grow unless buildout occurs all the way to the street, regardless of whether it's a wal-mart or a restaurant), 4) the big stores' antipathy for occupying exisitng structures or building their own buildings in such a way that they could abut other buildings (same reason as #3 above), 5) - and this probably pisses me off the most - ZERO community obligation to account for older store properties as they are replaced (usually within a couple of miles) by newer ones. wal-mart and lowe's are by far the worst offenders on this count, at least in the south. wal-mart often negotiates lease agreements with local developers so that wal-mart never actually owns their own buildings, leasing them instead. when they build a new store, they don't own the old building, and they don't care what happens to it. even in cases where they may own their own property, they don't hesitate to let it lie fallow for all eternity the minute they decide to build a new store in the same town.

in my hometown (pop. 15,000), this has happened no fewer than four times with wal-mart over the past 25 years. there's an illusion of growth, since new mini-shopping centers spring up around new wal-marts, but there are three dead zones where the same gaggle of stores packed up and followed wal-mart every time they've moved. all three original wal-mart buildings still stand, two of which are unoccupied. i wish more small towns weren't such pussies (can i say that?) with their zoning...the coup de grace would be an ordinance that requires ANY out-of-town retailer to redevelop their old sites as part of their in-town expansions over the years. raze the old building and plant grass, if nothing else. in more conservative towns - the kind where stores=jobs - there's a fat chance this will ever happen.

lol - i guess my short answer is 'yes' - cities need to encourage growth on THEIR terms, even if it takes 100 years to grow. no growth beats big box growth.

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I am fortunate to be from Michigan, the last big Market Walmart has barely been able to tap. People fight Walmart in Michigan pretty darn hard. Of course that's directly because two of the biggest box store companies in the country are headquartered in Michigan, Meijer, and Kmart.

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South Side residents push for retail plan

In an odd twist of usual logic, neighbors now seem to actually want big boxes in their backyard.

The I-10/Kino area is relatively low-income to middle-class, being on the edge of Tucson's industrial area. A big box store would probably bring some activity to the area, which is certainly needed, although I don't know that this is the best way of going about it.

There is currently a strip shopping center anchored by a Fry's nearby along Irvington at Campbell, but there's a large vacant lot fronting Benson Highway, with a couple of motels/apartments known for drugs across the street (actually, vacant lots + drug motels describes most of Benson Highway). It would certainly be nice to see some development there, but being the main route to the airport, I doubt that this is the image the city wants for itself.

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I have definately come out of airports, and have seen creepier things than Walmart. I just hate Walmart.

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I wanted to update this thread because of what appeared today in the Daily Star:

Big-box talks reopen, in a sense

Steve Leal (my council rep) has apparently confused the hell out of everyone and now no one really knows what's going on anymore. I see it that Leal has basically killed the deal at this point, but I'm sure they'll work something out to keep it staggering along.

I liked this idea initially, but I don't know if I like the idea of another Wal-Mart coming into town.

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Scottsdale has a big box ordinance? :-X we have way too many. maybe the ordinance should be a little stricter. I guess its good we have only 1 Wal-mart in the entire city proper but we have many many Ross's, Best Buys, Kohl's, Targets, Home Depots, Office Maxs, Super Kmarts, and whatnot.

I think a metro-wide ordinance would be proper. Phoenix is way too often criticized for "lacking culture and identity." we truly are a giant sprawling suburb with cookie-cutter homes and chain/franchised restaurants...

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Interesting thread about Walmart in the Flint Michigan Subforum. I guess one of the communities a little to the north of Flint is fighting Walmart coming to town. The title of the thread is "Walmart with Underground parking.

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I think so Colin, I think that the communities in the valley have become alot more resonsible about what gets built here. I see new urbanist/ medium density residential all over. I think the true test will be if Phoenix can overcome it's stigma as a midsize city, and grow into itself. Because if you think about it, at least in metaphorical terms Phoenix is the largest midsize city in the country.

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