September 15, 2005

Gray-Blue Battleships

This is The Box Tank's turf, but since it's taking a break, I thought I'd bring it to your attention.

A Little Urbanity thinks that hell has frozen over, because he read this article:

One of the strongest signals yet of how fundamental the shift in “big-box only” retail doctrine may be came at the International Council of Shopping Centers last December. 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.”

Mr. Stoker cited several examples of the world’s largest retailer bending its once-rigid design formula to fit into existing neighborhoods, new mixed use developments, and even a high-rise. For the retail development world, it was as though the pope had changed the words in the Lord’s Prayer.

I'm still waiting to see designs of the Bavarian themed Wal-Mart. You have to be amused by the disgust sprawl busters has for the latter-type concept:
What’s next? A Kosher Wal-Mart for Brooklyn? A Cheese-theme for Wisconsin? An Alligator Skin for Florida? When Wal-Mart promised an “Adirondack” theme in Lake Placid, New York, the residents just said No. Developers always tell local residents that their store will be "unique", the only one of its kind in the country. The idea that any community would accept the negative impacts of a Wal-Mart on the unique character of their town by the style of facade they use, is simply absurd.
Actually, I've come across many people who wish Wal-Mart stores just weren't so ugly.

Posted by Kevin on September, 15 2005 at 09:18 AM