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An Urban Home Depot

November 12, 2015 Big Box, Featured, Retail, UrbanReview | CHICAGO 1 Comment

The following post first appeared on UrbanReview | CHICAGO

Big box retailers long had a standard formula: cheap building surrounded by acres of surface parking. More than a decade ago they began to experiment with new designs as they entered urban locations where land prices & population density meant acres of surface parking wasn’t possible. I recall seeing the Home Depot on N. Halsted under construction — I just can’t recall when. I do know it was open by March 2005:

The company has eight stores in the city, including a unique two-story, storefront-style location at 2665 N. Halsted St.

Like Target, Home Depot knows the value of a flexible footprint. That gives it more options in working its way closer to the urbanite customers it craves. The Halsted store doesn’t sell much lumber; it focuses on the tools and interior design products that North Side condo owners shop for.

A lot of city neighborhoods fit Home Depot’s demographic, which is neither wealthy nor poor. The main thing: plenty of homeowners. “Home Depot is looking for bungalow city,” says Mr. Kirsch of Baum Realty. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

Though I’d been past it numerous times since it opened, I never went inside. Last month my husband and I needed something from a hardware store. He called a couple of local places near the Streeterville condo where we stay while in Chicago but they didn’t have what we needed. Looking at transit to the various locations we decided the N. Halsted location would be the easiest.

The Home Depot on N. Halsted in Lincoln Park was built more than a decade ago.
The Home Depot on N. Halsted in Lincoln Park was built more than a decade ago.
The garage entry/exit is recessed from the sidewalk
The garage entry/exit is recessed from the sidewalk
The store has two interior levels
The store has two interior levels
Rooftop garden on 4
Rooftop garden on 4
The front of the 2-story store is mostly glass, the is on the 2nd floor
The front of the 2-story store is mostly glass, the is on the 2nd floor
The rooftop garden on 4. Parking is on 3 and the balance of 4
The rooftop garden on 4. Parking is on 3 and the balance of 4

The question is how do we get urban retail to take more urban form in areas where land isn’t so expensive? Can a city, like St. Louis, through zoning or incentives, create an atmosphere where retailers are willing to invest in more expensive buildings with structured parking?

— Steve Patterson

 

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    “The question is how do we get urban retail to take more urban form in areas where land isn’t so expensive?” The answer is, you don’t. “Can a city, like St. Louis, through zoning or incentives, create an atmosphere where retailers are willing to invest in more expensive buildings with structured parking?” The answer is probably not, unless the local taxpayers are willing to commit to massive tax subsidies to multiple individual businesses. Businesses care far more about their bottom line, their financial success, than whatever “better” form their brick and mortar mainifestations “could” take. It all reflects that financial analysis.

    We have a sort-of urban Home Depot on South Kingshighway. It works well, on a building-material-availability basis, for the residents of much of south city, on one level, and better than a more “urban” one would, on a denser site. And the real problem with a fractured urban streetscape is not big boxes like Home Depot, it’s the smaller businesses, like chain fast food, chain pharmacies, supermarkets and banks – businesses that people use every day or every week, not destination retail, like Ikea or Home Depot. The ONLY reason HD committed to the store in Chicago is because a) no large site was available and b) the numbers worked! St. Louis has far too many large vacant parcels (with stupidly low prices) for this to even be a possibility outside of the central corridor . . .

     

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