New and Reuse

There are quite a few empty buildings around where I live. Don’t get me wrong, the area is still thriving despite the increasing number of people leaving Illinois. The question though isn’t whether there are enough businesses or business in general to fill these empty buildings, but why they aren’t.

New construction. New buildings. That is the norm. Once a company abandons a site, whether it is from going out of business, relocation, or even downsizing, seldom do I see another place jumping in. Of course in the downtown areas there are always companies volleying to take the spot. But out towards the shopping centers and malls, the story is different. New construction tends to fit.

While I know that there are a number of factors that could be behind this observation. Contracts signed to build before the other building becomes available. Space. Cost of renovation vs new construction. Lease costs. All can be behind that. But it still befuddles me.

On two separate weekends this month I travelled a good distance down some major roads. On those roads I keep seeing strip malls and huge shopping centers… all with the same damn stores. It’s like a retail Tower of Babel. And having Amazon being such a huge presence on the internet… well let me just say that I am not spoiled for choice, because there isn’t much. Oh look a Target. And a Walmart. And another Target. Oh, a Kohls… that’s different. Then a Walmart. Another Kohls. It’s ridiculous.

Don’t get me wrong, I shop at those and other major chain stores. I just am not crazy about it. Seeing buildings empty, new buildings being stacked, cars all over the place from one store to another, and then driving along a road where the departments stores are more frequent than the trees can be just draining. I think that I’d just rather see trees.

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