The town of Homer, Alaska, has capped retail store sizes at no more than 20,000 square feet in its central business district and 40,000 square feet in other commercial areas. The measure will remain in effect until the Planning Commission implements permanent regulations setting impact standards and size limits for large-scale retail, expected within six months. Continue reading
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Developers of a massive shopping center in Leominster, Massachusetts, claim the project will create 869 new jobs and boost the city’s property tax revenue by $400,000 annually.
But a study by a nationally recognized land use economist has found that the development will destroy about as many jobs as it creates and provide the city with only $51,000 in additional revenue. To put that into perspective, if the new revenue were used to cut residential property taxes, each of the city’s 17,000 households would save just $3 annually.
Five radio stations in St. Louis are refusing Wal-Mart’s demand that they pull ads critical of the company’s labor practices. The ads, sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655, discuss working conditions, wages, and lack of health care at Wal-Mart stores. Wal-Mart claims the ads are false and misleading, but the UFCW stands behind their accuracy. Continue reading
Since the 1980s, Wal-Mart has received at least $150 million in local, state, and federal subsidies to build 47 distribution centers in 32 states, according to a study by The Palm Beach Post.
Onlythose subsidies that have been quantified in published reports were counted. "That number likely grows by tens of millions when unquantified breaks, such as government bond financing for construction, and ongoing breaks, such as those given to businesses in enterprise zones, are included," the newspaper notes.
Big retailers are increasingly coming under fire from small and mid-sized manufacturers. Last month, more than 1,000 employees and owners of small manufacturing firms attended a rally in Connecticut to denounce Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target, and other chains for forcing large manufacturers to move their factories to China. Continue reading
"When . . . a large development wants to be in your town, you see the tax values surrounding that. . . I think the tendency is to think this is really going to give us a solid foundation," George Fowler, mayor of Pineville, North Carolina, told the Charlotte Observer. "But you don’t realize at that particular point the impact it’s going to have on the services you have to provide."
Three times as much money stays in the local economy when you buy goods and services from locally owned businesses instead of large chain stores, according to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine.
The study tracked the revenue and expenditures of eight locally owned businesses in the Maine towns of Rockland, Camden, and Belfast. The businesses—which represented a range of goods and services—collectively employed 62 people and had sales of $5.7 million in 2002.
Summer 2003 ILSR conducted a Phase One deconstruction pilot project in cooperation with the City of Philadelphia Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI) during the summer 2003. NTI is a multi-year strategy for eliminating blight ad revitalizing communities in Philadelphia. ILSR’s Jim Primdahl supervised the two City-chosen demolition contractors in the pilot project that resulted in the… Continue reading
In July, the Scottsdale, Arizona, City Council voted 4-3 to approve one of the largest subsidies ever given to a big box retail development. Those voting in the minority described the subsidy, which could amount to as much as $183 million over 40 years, as "obscene" and "insane."
The 600,000-square-foot development includes a Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Lowe’s Home Improvement store. The project is slated for a 42-acre site occupied by a derelict mall in south Scottsdale.
Residents of Stoughton, Wisconsin, have come together under the banner "Uff-da Wal-Mart" to fight the company’s plans to turn a nearby cornfield into a massive supercenter. Uff-da is a Norwegian expression of disdain.
In mid-July, Uff-da Wal-Mart scored a significant victory when the City Council adopted a 90-day moratorium on big box retail development. The ordinance temporarily bans development of stores larger than 50,000 square feet.