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Old 08-15-2014, 11:14 AM
 
Location: NNJ
8,976 posts, read 4,923,690 times
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There was a mall in Houston area (I grew up there) that lost all of its tenants back in the 90s. They turned into an office building. From what I gather, an indoor mall is actually setup quite well for office space.
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,722 posts, read 15,977,142 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnian View Post
Many of the places with dwindling physical retail and businesses are not destinations for the rich and trendy. There are still some jobs in these communities but in many cases there are increasingly more people who are out of the job market, working a lower-paying job or stringing together different part-time jobs. What is being lost is beyond the physical businesses, it is a loss of community. It also diminishes the economic value of the community since more of the dollars spent are outflows.
Precisely. I think a lot of the areas you mentioned (often smaller towns and rural areas) will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. As has been stated, big box stores, online shopping, and ongoing retail consolidation will continue to push many smaller players out of the market.

I grew up with the following grocery stores in our town of 50,000.

1) Food City 2) Kroger 3) Ingle's 4) Oakwood 5) Food Country 6) White's 7) Food Lion 8) Winn-Dixie 9) Wal-Mart

We also had a K-Mart and Hills in addition to Wal-Mart for discount retailers. At the time, there was a Sam's in the city limits that relocated to a nearby town.

Oakwood, White's, Food Lion, and Winn-Dixie have all closed down. Oakwood and White's were local grocers. Now, we have Wal-Mart, more Food Cities, a Food Country in a neighboring bedroom community, a dumpy Kroger, and an Ingle's right outside the city limits. I think we have three different grocery vendors in the city proper now, plus one salvage grocer.

We have fewer providers but they are bigger.

Also, the economy has shifted in such a way where we need fewer people in factories in far-flung towns and fewer people working farms, gathering resources, etc. The jobs are now in major metro centers. This alone is going to cause small towns to decline.
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Old 08-15-2014, 12:44 PM
 
1,862 posts, read 1,815,990 times
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Abandoned retail buildings make fine homeless shelters. They don't even need to invest in the buildings, homeless people will find them anyway.
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Old 08-16-2014, 02:09 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 1,942,669 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnian View Post
As I drive through the cities, towns and rural areas of the Northeast the number of empty store fronts, retailers and small businesses continue to grow. Similar trends are taking place across the US. With the exception of more affluent areas, many cities, rural areas and working-class towns of modest and lower income have large numbers of empty buildings. The scene is pretty much the same a big box store or two, a grocery store, a dollar store, some fast food chains, a couple of small independent restaurants, consignment shops, pawn shops, a few small service businesses and convenience stores. Everything else is gone along with the jobs and sense of community they helped foster. Declining income among the bottom 50% has resulted in relying more on cheap imports and little of lasting value. Major purchases come from the big box or on-line retailers such as Amazon.

What will become of all the empty retail buildings? Is there a future for physical presence in retail beyond cheap commodity products for low and modest income families?
You touch on a lot of inter-related subjects.

People have come to value one-stop shopping for saving time and money at the same time as the ascendance of the car has allowed us to live a life beyond our immediate neighborhood. It's now not unusual to drive a few miles to a Costco or a WalMart and stock up on everything instead of hitting up a half dozen stores more near to our homes.

As a result, we no longer need small, local retail to the same extent that we once did. And, given the real flat-lining of incomes for most Americans, they can no longer afford niche stores to the same extent, either, even as many luxury goods have gotten cheaper in real terms.

That said, the Amazon-ification--next day delivery to your door--of what has generally required going to the store for may give back some of our time and money--no retail location and a streamlined inventory system means lower overhead and, thus, cheaper products. And we are seeing a revival of the value of "quaint" town centers, which is good for small (as in store size, not company size) retail.

Some retail buildings will see adaptive re-use, others torn out completely for more valuable ventures.
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:09 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 14,945,619 times
Reputation: 6651
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnian View Post
As I drive through the cities, towns and rural areas of the Northeast the number of empty store fronts, retailers and small businesses continue to grow. Similar trends are taking place across the US. With the exception of more affluent areas, many cities, rural areas and working-class towns of modest and lower income have large numbers of empty buildings. The scene is pretty much the same a big box store or two, a grocery store, a dollar store, some fast food chains, a couple of small independent restaurants, consignment shops, pawn shops, a few small service businesses and convenience stores. Everything else is gone along with the jobs and sense of community they helped foster. Declining income among the bottom 50% has resulted in relying more on cheap imports and little of lasting value. Major purchases come from the big box or on-line retailers such as Amazon.

What will become of all the empty retail buildings? Is there a future for physical presence in retail beyond cheap commodity products for low and modest income families?
Same thing in the Midwest. Where our store once was now lies a bunch of dilapidated buildings, unoccupied for years. It's even worse in the small towns, especially those that do not have any tourist attractions; I was in Keokuk, Iowa but I felt more like I was in Flint or Detroit minus the violence.

As far as the buildings, they will be scrapped for their metal by heroin addicts, unlocked and inhabited by those who suffered foreclosures, torn down to make way for parking or low-income housing.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:32 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,804 posts, read 51,811,152 times
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We're not seeing this around here, both Seattle and Bellevue across the bridge are building like crazy with rent on commercial properties on the rise despite the anticipated increased availability. In Seattle it's mostly residential but those people will enjoy walking to local businesses. In Bellevue it's a lot of commercial growth.

The building boom heard ’round Seattle | Local News | The Seattle Times

Bellevue building boom is under way | KING5.com Seattle
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:20 AM
 
Location: USA
6,186 posts, read 5,086,821 times
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Some might just end up as distribution hubs when they change over to internet only businesses. But otherwise a good place for squatting.
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Old 08-19-2014, 04:00 AM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
9,359 posts, read 18,228,269 times
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Our little town is booming, although it's just a small rural town. Mostly instead of shopping, it seems to be becoming a social hub. More of an "experience based" sales than an acquisition type sales. The theater is now serving coffee and lunch all day, as well as showing several different movies at night. There's a few new small restaurants open, some new boutiques, new restaurant being built, a new skate board park, new university extension, there's now "First Fridays" which is sort of a block party, there's several parades during the year and they just started a new festival last weekend, "Plantation Days". Twenty years ago, our town lost it's major source of income when the sugar mill closed. Now, it's basically risen from the dead and thriving. It seems to be a diversity of things, not any one particular thing although the common element seems to be a place for folks to socialize. It's a small walkable "main street" area and folks walk up and down the sidewalks, browse the stores and visit with folks. There's benches here and there for folks to sit on which encourages folks to just sort of hang out in town.
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Old 08-19-2014, 01:05 PM
 
5,699 posts, read 5,887,552 times
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in NYC at least, I think the landlords should convert to some kind of hostel, bed and breakfast or something that they can then utilize AirBnB. This way they can cut out all the retarded residential that sign lease above the stores, and sublet illegally through AirBnb? With all that available AirBnB customers will no longer have a need to help those idiot residential renters break the law and lease.
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Old 08-19-2014, 01:06 PM
 
7,497 posts, read 9,436,305 times
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Maybe Walfart will buy them and turn them into a bunch of neighborhood markets.
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