Adaptive Reuse, Aisle 7: How An Empty Big Box Can Give Rise to Community

Midwest, Newsletter
Friday, July 13, 2012
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THE MCALLEN MAIN LIBRARY, ONCE A WALMART. (IMAGE COURTESY MEYER SCHERER & ROCKCASTLE)

THE MCALLEN MAIN LIBRARY, ONCE A WALMART. (IMAGE COURTESY MEYER SCHERER & ROCKCASTLE)

An average Walmart tops 100,000 square feet. With more than 600 stores nationwide, the company has a mighty footprint. And when a store goes under, it can be somewhat of a crater in the local real estate market.

One Walmart in McAllen, Texas—about 15 miles from the Mexican border—got a major facelift from Minneapolis-based Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, who also have an office in Marysville, Md. They won an ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award for their work converting the defunct big box store into a library.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Cycle, East, Out, Opposites

Daily Clicks
Friday, February 4, 2011
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Solar Cycle. The Dutch dream up a ways to capture latent energy beneath bike tires.

Go East Young Man. With the economy in the States still somewhat sour, the good news for West Coast firms is in the East, the Far East, writes AOL’s Daily Finance.  AIA’s Scott Frank spills the goods for Danny King.

Walled Out. It was hard to miss the spirited crowd on Chambers Street yesterday as three City Council committees held a joint hearing on Wal-Mart’s proposed move into New York  held. Wal-Mart was a no show. The line to get in stretched down the block. And Council Speaker Quinn blasted away. Today’s Daily News editorial found the whole drama, well, dramatic.

Polar Opposites. Ben Thompson and Paul Rudolph were cut from the same Modernist cloth, under the influence of Gropius, but the two took different paths. One was from the north the other from the south, one standoffish, the other a team player. One a sculpture, the other an entertainer. In Architecture Boston, David N. Fixler explores how their forms function.

University of Arkansas′ Big-Box Bacalaureate

Other
Thursday, January 20, 2011
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Walmart on Campus in Arkansas (Photo courtesy Walter Lang)

Walmart on Campus in Arkansas (Photo courtesy Walter Lang)

Walmart has been trying to expand into cities like New York and Washington, D.C. for a while now sparking debate about big box retail in urban centers along the way. To find space, Walmart will likely have to abandon the supercenter in favor of a more petite space, but slimming down to a mere 3,500 square feet sounds pretty extreme.

More on schooling Walmart after the jump.

Waffling on Walmart

Midwest
Monday, May 3, 2010
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Walmart has one store in Chicago, in Oak Park on the West Side. Can it pull off the same feat in Pullman? (Courtesy Google Maps)

The story surrounding plans for a new Walmart on Chicago’s Far South Side keeps changing faster than the retailer’s prices. Last week we noticed that its attempts to break into Brooklyn were eerily similar to those in the Windy City, though we failed to mention how the linchpin of the current argument, that no one would dare locate in Pullman, does not hold true in East New York, as the Gateway Center already has a Target and a few other big box stores. But according to the Chicago Reader, that may not be the case in Pullman either. The paper did the unthinkable and—gasp!—called up the other retailers who the local alderman said he contacted, including IKEA, Dominick’s, and Jewel-Osco, to confirm that they had turned Alderman Anthony Beale down. Read More

Walmart? Fugedaboutit!

East Coast, National
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
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The stores of Gateway Center 1. Might the second phase include a Walmart? (Courtesy Related)

In the last Midwest issue, we recounted Walmarts struggles to infiltrate urban centers, notably in Chicago. But the world’s largest retailer and the nation’s largest employer has also been eying New York for years, and the Daily News reports that it is making a new push in Brooklyn, which has already met resistance from locals and labor without even being officially announced. The weird thing, though, is how eerily similar there approach is in East New York as with the Pullman project on Chicago’s Far South Side. Both are meant to be the anchor tenant in a larger mixed-use development that involves affordable housing (the former is part of Gateway II, the latter Pullman Park) located in the fringes of their respective cities, places that have been historically economically depressed. This puts Walmart in a better position of arguing that the area is in need of jobs, any jobs, not to mention affordable housing, so how dare politicians and unions try to stop it. Whether it works in Brooklyn or the Far South Side, only time will tell, but if Kingsbridge is any indication, it probably won’t happen in the Five Boroughs any time soon. Pullman, however, might be an entirely different story, as Mayor Daley continues to agitate for the project’s approval.

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