If you consistently don't like the outcome, you must change the rules of the game.
Using tax incentives to subsidize retail is a lose-lose game that St. Louis's suburbs, desperate for short-term revenue, have been playing for too long. University City is mortgaging its future and selling out its small businesses with a $70 million subsidy for big-box development.
University City, Missouri, is on the verge of a terrible decision: a redevelopment deal that would displace dozens of homes and minority-owned businesses in its unofficial “Chinatown” for big-box retail subsidized through tax-increment financing.
What's the problem with big box stores?
Big box stores occupy acres of valuable land in our towns with their large-scale buildings and even larger parking lots. This is land that generates far less tax revenue per acre than traditional commercial development. In spite of their low productivity, big box stores benefit from tax subsidies, regulatory advantages and extensive public infrastructure investments. They are perfectly adapted to take advantage of the un-level playing field that is the American economy.
Big box stores fail are designed to siphon money out of our towns, not build wealth within. This isn't a free market. We've created a destructive game where the prime casualty is the financial solvency of our cities, towns and neighborhoods. To get away from that, we must focus on small scale, locally-based investments. Only through this method of development will be build strong towns.
Want to see an end to the big box store game playing out in your community? Become a member of the movement that is fighting this destructive development pattern.
Big box developments are not paying their fair share.
Frequently hailed as a shining example of a successful big box retrofit, the McAllen Main Library is a fantastic space. But is it a realistic model for retrofits across the country?
Check out our campaign to end parking minimums and learn why big parking lots are bad for our financial prosperity and built environment: