Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Disappearance of an American Downtown Icon


Large department stores have been a major part of the downtown real estate landscape in nearly all great American cities. The Journal Sentinel recently chronicled the growing decline of downtown department stores across parts of the U.S., even when publicly subsidized.  It's easy to imagine how these large, vacant buildings will impact downtown development going forward if willing buyers or replacement tenants cannot quickly be found.  You can read the story here.

Downtown department stores continue to disappear, even as cities subsidize them.

Just within the past three years, department store operators have announced downtown closings                 in Indianapolis, Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis and Cincinnati — all Midwestern cities with metro populations comparable to or larger than the Milwaukee area. In all of those cities, the stores or their landlords have received millions of dollars in publicly financed loans, grants and ownership stakes over the past several years.

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