We've heard many local critics snicker at the South Loop (particularly Roosevelt Road) because of it's "big box retail" identity. While we discredit this notion and aren't huge fans of big box stores, the reality is that they are very convenient.
The Atlantic Cities website provides an interesting post on some of the positives big box retailers bring to an urban setting:
City-dwellers love to rag on big box stores. They’re large and ugly and kind of dehumanizing. They require vast seas of surface parking. They sell the antithesis of the idealized urban shopping experience, in which a shopper on foot might hit multiple locally owned specialty shops for her hardware, her art supplies and her bubble bath.
What’s there to possibly like about the big-box alternative?
Well, here is one factor urban critics may not have considered: What if in-town big box stores encourage people to drive less? That is, after all, a major policy objective of smart growth. Plenty of people who don’t want a big box store in their midst still drive 20 miles to get to one. Why not cut out those unnecessary emissions? And if you could go to a Sam’s Club once a month instead of a Safeway every week, wouldn’t that get people out of their cars more, too?
It's an interesting post and logically seems to make sense to us.
For the South Loop particularly our "big box" stretch seems to mainly center around Roosevelt Road while the North/South streets seem to cater to local businesses. If you ask us, we have to best of both worlds - convenient big box stores on Roosevelt and a growing local/small business community on the North/South streets.
What do you think? Are big box stores on Roosevelt good or bad for the Sloop?
(Hat tip: Curbed Chicago!)
(Image from Walsh Construction)