Once again the growth management act has created headaches for the retail industry especially large end users in need of general commercial zoning or similar. Due to the state legislation of the growth management act many parcels have changed zoning to include high density corridor designations or mixed use densities. This has created the residential over retail design as well as the need for "mixed use" conferences and meetings from the international council of shopping centers.
Don't get me wrong, the higher density does help us maintain our rural lands and preserve the lands in a much more natural way. Although my question is "Have they weighed the cost?"
With many retailers struggling in today's economy we are finding the need to buy items in bulk, using outlet centers and buying as many off-brand items as possible. Several of those retailers such as Costco, Winco Foods and even Home Depot are recognizing these needs although they are unable to find sites due to difficult zoning codes and uncooperative jurisdictions.
Safeway took advantage of their current locations and the mixed use changes by revamping their entire interior, creating an experience while shopping by inserting Starbucks, Jamba Juice and other similar retailers. This change to a "boutique" grocer was a great move by Safeway as they are already located in established high density areas. New retailers to these areas are finding that they must move outside the hub to stay within budget while finding a site large enough for their stores.
New store plans have slowed for most retailers during the last few months although the bulk foods market has grown. Will they locate near you soon? Doubtful if you live in a higher density area - currently many of my clients that are in this arena are looking for sites 5 -10 miles outside of the hub but along highly traveled roads to try and pull those from the hub to them. It's an interesting problem to have in the land of what's left.
Let me know your thoughts - by the way if you happen to know of 10-18 acres that are zoned general commercial on a heavily traveled road, let me know I'm always happy to pay referral fees.