Good Retail vs. Bad Retail

Jon Real Estate Leave a Comment

As you may have heard, there’s a strong possibility there will be a Walmart developed adjacent to Glenwood Park.  Many local residents are up in arms over a proposed development which, most notably, will be anchored by a still offically unnamed 155,000 square foot retailer.

Meanwhile, a couple of miles north in Inman Park, Paces Properties has assembled nearly nine acres and plan on creating an “”epicurean center””. According to the incomparable Thomas Wheatley over at Creative Loafing:

More than one-third of the 30,000 square-foot development, Cochran says, will be a market that will feature “”anywhere from eight to 15 market stalls ranging from 2,500 to 1,000 square feet where local operators can sell their wares. Anyone from the florist, baker, to candlestick maker. It’s a true market. There are some in Atlanta but we feel like it’s an opportunity to truly do it in the same vein as the markets you see on the west coast.”” The rest will be restaurants and retailers.

These two developments really got me thinking about how powerful retail can be in driving housing demand.  I think about the four home owners who currently have their houses on the market in Glenwood Park.  Their list prices range from $400,000-$650,000.  Does a Walmart next door make it harder to sell a $650,000 house?  Is a Walmart located directly adjacent to a residential neighborhood considered an amenity?  A detriment?  A deal killer?

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have the condominiums at White Provisions, where the retail/restaurant mix is arguably one of the project’s primary unique selling points.  What if Lululemon were replaced by Ross?  West Egg replaced by Chilis?  Obviously, there’d be an impact on condominium pricing.  Five percent discount?  Twenty?

“”Good Retail”” and “”Bad Retail”” are both relative terms. If you live in a food desert, you may define any grocery store that sells fresh fruits and vegetables as “”good””.  If you live in a more established part of town, you may deem any grocery store that does not sell cave-aged gruyere as “”bad””.

Hypothetical question: What if you were told that you had the choice of two identical homes, at identical prices. One was located in the best public school district in the city, but the house was two blocks from a Walmart. The other was in one of the worst school districts in the city, but was two blocks from an “”epicurean center””.  Which one would you buy?

Clearly, I’m blogging in fantasyland… but it’s an interesting conversation piece nonetheless.

Unless, that is, you currently live two blocks from the site of a proposed 155,000 retail super center.

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