Walmarts To Close, Can This Help With Housing?

By PATRICK LAVERY As the retail giant Walmart makes news with their plans to close underperforming locations, urban designers see an opportunity to discuss repurposing retail properties. A recent Nexstar Media wire report confirmed that despite a strong holiday shopping season to end 2022, Walmart was preparing to close seven stores in three states – including three in Illinois, all in the Chicagoland vicinity. The big box giant referred to these locations, also in Arkansas, Florida, New Mexico, and Wisconsin, as “underperforming.” One of them, in Lincolnwood, Ill., was a pickup and delivery-only store that opened in 2019. While that kind of model made sense during the retail restrictions of the Covid pandemic, it seems to be one that Walmart…

A New Green Space: Can Cannabis Save Retail?

By PATRICK LAVERY In a Hunterdon County, New Jersey, strip mall long characterized by higher-end retailers like Ulta Beauty and Talbots, one trio of newer storefronts may seem incongruous. Start at Axeiom, a women and LGBTQ+-focused axe throwing space, then walk a few steps to Aunt Mary’s, a cannabis dispensary opening first for medical cardholders and eventually for adult-use, and then buy a burrito at Pancheros Mexican Grill. Sounds like an amusing night, right? But this potential scenario may hinge on the future of an industry that has caught the imagination of those who rent retail space and investors interested in making a buck from marijuana. A 3% dropoff compared to the rest of 2022 in Q4 rents collected by…

They Used To Be A Pizza Hut: Finding New Purposes For Commercial Spaces

By PATRICK LAVERY You’ve seen them. They masquerade as churches, funeral homes, radio stations, pharmacies, even – blasphemy! – other restaurants. But they all have one thing in common. They used to be a Pizza Hut. Now, it may be true that no one out-pizzas the Hut, but the huts themselves have slowly become outmoded relics over the past two to three decades when it comes to the chain’s business model. In that time, the take-out option that was always an alternative to sitting under the red, trapezoidal roof has brought Pizza Hut closer in spirit to its main competitors Domino’s, Little Caesars, and Papa John’s. It’s now common to see Pizza Hut paired in strip malls, airports, or rest…