Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Economics of Big Box Development

In Macleans magazine, Steve Maich pens a piece entitled, “Why Wal-Mart is Good.” In it he partially focuses on the Western Cleveland’s proposed Steelyard Commons development which will have Wal-Mart as an anchor. Maich touts the economic value of this potential big-box center:

Soon, however, this site will also be a symbol of renewal. In May, work began on what will be the first big-box shopping centre in this city of 500,000 people. It's called Steelyard Commons, and will include a Target store, a Home Depot, a Staples, plus restaurants and smaller businesses. It's expected to bring close to 2,000 jobs to the city identified as the most impoverished urban area in the U.S. in the 2004 census. Unemployment here runs at 11 per cent -- roughly double the national average.
As we have pointed out, these numbers have no basis in reality and are often propagated by biased consultants and certain elected officials looking to exploit job numbers for political gain. Take a look at No Cleveland Wal-Mart’s post on the issue, including their very true statements:

The developers and city administration have been selling this as “creating decent jobs and fueling economic growth“.

We’re the only ones who’ve questioned - does it?