Big Box Retail in DTR

Talking about a wish list we need a Zara as well :slight_smile:

Could we ask Urban Outfitters to go away and Zara to come there instead? European tapered fitted clothing is hard to find here.

Why can’t we just keep UO and have both?


The problem with big box stores in dense urban places is that they’re big and take up a lot of space. That limits the amount of tax revenue for the city, creates a sea of underutilized parking, and if/when the store closes, a huge empty building. Raleigh should encourage smaller retail options that are more versatile.

That’s not true. Urban model big box stores are developed all the time on small lots, on multiple floors and are often provided without parking if there are parking garages nearby. Even garage parking can be provided on top of the store or as part of a multi-story mixed use project.

Sometimes, but sometimes not.

While we are discussing national chains in DTR… We need some of the chain restaurants downtown as well. I’m not saying one on every corner, just a few here and there. Sure there are lots of nice upscale local establishments along Fayetteville Street, but not everyone who enjoys visiting DTR can afford those places. Parents with picky kids and tight budgets can’t even consider those places. As one of those parents, I would like a few options somewhere in the range between McDonalds/Chic Fil-A and the Uber expensive/Reservation Only places where we could take the kids when we are downtown. Just throwing this out there…

I guess more Wahlburger’s type of stuff? I’m surprised there isn’t a Chipotle downtown, for one, but I actually really like the fact that there aren’t too many chains. There are quite a few affordable restaurants for families, like B Good, Parkside, etc.

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I actually agree with the chains in downtown idea. I bet it’s tough to do but I would love to see a firm do some kind of study showing how beneficial, or not, a completely local economy is.

For example, we have about 90% local restaurants in DTR. I could be off by a few plus depends on the definition of local but regardless, it’s pretty high. Is there an economic impact to tourism, conventions, commercial, etc if that number was 80%? 60%?

Would it be greater if we pushed it to 95%?

That’s the kind of stuff I think could help us craft a balanced downtown.

Now having said all that, how do you legislate it? No idea! :grin:


I was a bit disappointed to see IKEA pull out of their plan to locate at Cary Towne Center, however the excitement around the announcement may have helped push the idea that the mall property can transform into a different kind of place – pedestrian friendly, mixed-use, a regional destination. Many people are moving to our area and Cary Towne Center is still well located. I’m glad plans are moving forward.

I think IKEA’s strategy to located in urban centers is an important shift for the company. Generally speaking, city dwellers love IKEA but driving to a suburban location is not always an option or desirable. A highly accessible store (walking, biking, transit, car) can also encourage window shopping (or eating).

A new store just opened in Grand Prairie, TX outside of Dallas. I think a store located closer to the central city would have done well here, but that opportunity may be lost now, at least in the near term.

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The trouble is that Ikea furniture still requires a big vehicle to carry it away. If Ikea is going to substantially change their location model and seek to appeal to urban dwellers, they are going to need a logistics framework to support it. That all said, I can imagine a multi-floor ikea model on a much smaller parcel of land.

I think that at least one urban version of a big-box store should be incorporated into whatever development takes place on the N&O property. My vision is for several stores (Trader Joe’s, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, and Best Buy came to mind) as that would be a large draw for the downtown shopping district. My only concern would be its impact on the established local businesses in the area.

You can get the same crappy junk that IKEA has at Target. Just go sit outside the IKEA pick up in NJ for an hour and watch the insanity. Make room for more affordable housing and not ADU’s.

Ikea reportedly is still interested in the Triangle even though they cancelled the Cary store.

“IKEA Real Estate Manager Bob Grimsley says the furniture company would still like to open a store in the area, although he didn’t say whether the company has a timeline or specific location in mind.
‘While we do not currently have any immediate plans for a Triangle area store, IKEA has a strong base of customers there and we look forward to the time when we will open our first Triangle area location,’ Grimsley wrote in an email.”

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IKEA = disposable junk. Good Riddance.

That’s a gross generalization of IKEA’s product quality. I actually have some really good products from IKEA that have lasted for years. That said, some of their really inexpensive products are less likely to last, but it’s not like there aren’t options beyond those offerings. IKEA often has a range of price and quality options for a lot of their categories. Even more, I have some products from IKEA that are among the best in the category anywhere!
They also lead retailing in support of modest and smaller home spaces. Their products are often designed for those who have limited floor and storage space.


How funny would it be if the big box store on the floor above the grocery store ends up being a Belk?


a return of Belk downtown could be interesting. There does seems to be a move to hybrid storefront/e-sales model in retail. You could try-on samples, order, pick up and return, & buy a limited selection of necessities there. The question might be density downtown, because a lunch-time rush sure won’t cut it. Target is what came to my mind first. Their Hillsbourgh St store model might work well. IKEA would drive traffic - and they did give up their Cary plans for a new urban focus with a much smaller footprint. What a score that would be! I am curious to know what other retailers y’all can imagine going there.

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What if they put in a multi-screen cinema? :wink:
Sorry…had to go there.


Unfortunately, Raleigh area developers are a build, sell, and forget type. So the quality of these smaller footprint store fronts tend to be very uninviting. Why would a small business owner choose these crappy store fronts?