Thursday, February 12, 2009

About that Home Depot Design Center

That Home Depot Design Center that's closing at the Metropolitan development near uptown? The graphic above probably explains all. It gives some international context on retail in America. (Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler, via Andres Duany, via Brenda who works at the Duany Plater-Zyberk office in Charlotte). If you can't read the fine print, the information is from "Shopping Centers Today."
And why do I fear there would be a similarly configured chart of "credit card debt per capita" or even "high-fructose corn syrup consumption per person"?
OK, back to work. Be sure to read tomorrow's Viewpoint Page in the Observer. I can't reveal yet what will be on it but it will have excellently written headlines. And a sublime Buzz. I hope.


Anonymous said...

This is a great illustration of why bailouts won't work and why government should not socialize losses while privatizing profits (that's the economic definition of fascism, btw). If banks and corporations knew they'd be held responsible for their bad decisions, they'd be less likely to overbuild.

But of course the entity that is NEVER held responsible for its bad decisions is GOVERNMENT - witness the insanity at the Whitewater Center. EVERYONE who voted for that should be tarred and feathered, and their personal bank accounts drained to pay off that boondoggle.

Anonymous said...

That macro economic graph has no corrolation with the Home Depot Design Center (which is an micro economic issue for the United States). I'm sorry, but I have failed to see your point.

Anonymous said...

When you look at a big box stores, I'm not sure that filling one with higher end goods and services, which have lower turnover, will ever achieve success. The places that seem to perform well are Costcos, Targets and Wal Marts. The Design Center wasn't really selling anything at wholesale type prices which wasn't generating much turnover or traffic beyond window shopping.

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Streetsweeper said...

I was most interested to find out that this was first published in April 2005. I wonder how different it is now and if this includes all retail space, vacant and active.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:08

I appreciate your general point, but you might want to develop a clearer understanding of what fascism is, rather than simply use it as a buzz word. It most certainly is not defined as "socializing loss from business while privatizing profit."

People mis-use terms that have specific meaning with distressing frequency. (Elected officials and their surrogates, btw, being offenders of the first order in that regard.)It only adds impact among the ignorant and uneducated. Beyond that it only appears silly.

Rick said...

So Mary, since you've proven without a doubt with your chart that we've got way too much retail, will Michael Smith finally stop whining about getting more retail Uptown?

mikey said...

Rick, Michael Smith has to justify his own subsidized income somehow.

Rick said...

Just to poke the bear a little...

Check out these links on transit and the stimulus.

Comparison of House-Senate-Conference Transit BOBs (Barack Obama Bucks)

Final Stimulus Bill Slaps Transit Riders in the Face

More local transit tax burdens here we come!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:10:00:

Anonymous said...

Yeah Mary, you can cansor me all you want but Kunstler is a two bit kook and I cannot comprehend why people even listen to his tripe. Admit it Mary, people like him and you would rather have us living in log cabins and dirt roads and picking berries off trees. get over yourself for heaven's sake.

Anonymous said...

Mary mary quite contrary ; Charlotte is to small for a downtown home design center and just look at the system here CONDOS that dont need anything and dumpy homes that People use chewing gum to hold together and late at night you can here rub rub rub thats two nickels run=bbing together in harmony, Thats the downtown area . Lets face it Charlotte needs 250 thousand more People with income or entitlements , Face it Mary this city os broke.

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Jumper said...

Now I don't have to use all caps for emphasis! Next I will teach myself not to act like a raving lunatic. After that I will gain more and more followers, until raving lunatics showing up commenting on civil blogs becomes a thing of the past.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 7:58 am,
Do you mean operative masons or speculative masons. I believe Benjamin Franklin was a speculative Mason only ( as in masonic lodges ) and not an operative mason; i.e. stone mason, brick mason, etc.

I would agree though, there are plenty of independent contractors where operative masons can get their materials; the Home depot Design Center was a glorified DIY playground. Sorry to see them go, however, as it was a good destination to downtown other than a restaurant or bar.
Wonder how long west Elm will survive...

Robert 0f The Radish said...

Pretty chart, but it has no correlation. And what is your point is exacty?

The chart make perfect sense when you look at both the US population compared to the other countries listed as well as the land area of the countries listed. Sorry, but a middle-school level education can see this article for what it is. Useless.

Population By the Countries in the sample:

US: 305,825,000
Sweden: 959,000
UK: 61,612,000
France: 65,073,000
Italy: 61,612,300

So let's compare the data in your chart to the POPULATION of each country.

Percentage of SQ FT of retail space less percentage of population (negative number is LESS sq ft of retail per person):

US: 6.93%
Sweden: 11.03%
UK: -3.94%
France: -5.32%
Italy: -8.70%

Land Area by the countries in the chart (sq km):

US: 9,629,091
Sweden: 450,295
UK: 242,900
France: 632,760
Italy: 301,318

Now let's compare the data in your chart to the LAND AREA of each country.

Percentage of SQ FT of retail space less percentage of land area (negative number is LESS retail space per sq km):

US: -16.84%
Sweden: 7.22%
UK: 6.35%
France: 2.20%
Italy: 1.06%

So, when you look at the reality of the sample used. Sweden is the country that (by far) has the most over abundance of retail space when compared to its population (11.03% overage) and when compared to it's land area (7.22% overage)

The US has an overage of 6.93% when compared to it's population, but in terms of land area we have a 16.84% less retail space to sq km than all the other countries in the sample.

So, while you used this data to make some kind of point about the US having more retail space than the rest of the world, you inadvertanty showed that this is not the case.

This is the problem with people using statistics to support their point without putting the effort in to analyze and understand the numbers

Anonymous said...

Radish, very good points. What Mary fails to tell people is the source, Kunstler, is a crackpot who hates the modern free enterprise system and wishes we were all still gnawing on twigs.

Anonymous said...

to both partisans:
to the first one- if you don't see the correlation between the graph and the Home Depot Design Center, you are beyond help. At least until you acknowledge reality.

To the second one- all you have shown is the average distribution (how far apart each of these per capita square feet is from each other)
Well that is what you attempted to do. The "per capita" part is the one that makes it possible to compare square footage across countries. Because the units match.
Plus the whole part about "Percentage of SQ FT of retail space less percentage of population" is unintelligible. How do you take 20.2 sq.feet subtract
305,825,000 and get 6.93% as a result. There are some steps missing there.

And finally, you mixed systems( Metric and English).

But anyway do not bother explaining any of th math because the first error is the one that matters.

This is a comparison of amount retail space PER CAPITA across countries. Not how the density of retail space.

If you choose to ignore or disagree, even before reading, the article, that is OK. But the facts were laid and are irrefutable. At least by logic.

Anonymous said...

Here's been my deal with the Home Depot design centers...If I'm in the market for a $500 door knob and lock set, I'm certain to hire a designer. It's just too high end to be practical for that amount of retail space.