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11098Re: [carfree_cities] Re: recycling big-box stores

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Nov 17, 2008
      Hi All,

      Some issues here:

      1) Some big-box stores in Europe are served by good public transport,
      although most are not. All but a few of them are located away
      from the city center on the cheapest land that could be obtained.
      Almost all are very near busy highways.

      2) I think that the basic structure of big boxes is unsuited
      to most kinds of redevelopment. These buildings are typically
      about two stories tall, but the roof structures are often
      very deep and crossed by trusses, so much of that space is
      not usable for most purposes. The extent of the buildings
      is so vast that there is virtually no way to bring natural
      light into most of the building.

      3) The quality of construction is generally very poor. These
      are engineered structures in the worst sense of the word.
      Even the addition of a mezzanine floor, required to make
      real use of the space, would probably overload the columns
      and their footings, which are no larger than they absolutely
      must be. These buildings probably have design lives of 30 years.

      4) The addition of water and sewer services will require taking
      up much of the floor, which is probably reinforced concrete in
      most cases. This would entail cutting through the rebar in order
      to lay piping. It can be done, but it is expensive.

      5) The scale of these buildings is simply too large to make
      them attractive for redevelopment.

      So, I would not waste a lot of time and effort on this question.
      Most of these buildings will be demolished and their steel
      members recycled. Some of the utility installations might be
      salvaged. The rest is land fill. Lots of it.

      Best,

      Joel


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      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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