business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • The Winston-Salem City Council has voted to put a moratorium on all rezonings and commercial construction permits for facilities larger than 150,000 sq. ft., hoping that the delay will give its planning staff more time to study the potential impact of big box stores.

    The move came as Wal-Mart seeks to build a new 223,000-square-foot supercenter in the community, which would be its third in Forsyth County.

KC's View:
We were intrigued by one proposal made by a city council member, who suggested that if a big box retailer vacated a space that it occupied, the law should require that retailer to return the facility to “green space.”

Considering that one of the more persistent charges made against Wal-Mart is that it has a large number of “dead” stores around the country, representing millions of square feet of unused retail space, this is a very interesting proposition.

It falls into line with another of our beliefs – that rather than offering the world’s biggest, riches tax abatements to move into town, communities instead ought to be charging multiple tax rates to help deal with some of the other issues raised by supercenter development.