Reusing vacant “big box” retail stores appears to be a difficult and expensive endeavor judging by the number of vacant buildings seen around San Antonio. However, there have been some success stories in recent years.
The YMCA of Greater San Antonio successfully adapted a vacant Albertson’s grocery store as the TriPoint Family YMCA at 3233 N. St. Mary’s Street. Another reuse of an Albertson’s store is the popular 54,541 square feet Incredible Pizza Company at 11743 West Avenue.
Other successful adaptions include Velocity Sports Performance renovating a 20,300 square feet retail space at 2211 NW Military and Northside Ford occupying the 16.8 acre Super K-mart site at 12300 San Pedro Avenue.
Halloween stores recently opened in vacant retail spaces, including one in the 12000 block of San Pedro Avenue formerly occupied by a Conn’s store.
Communities throughout the United States have struggled with reusing vacant “big box” stores. Julia Christensen has published a book and a website describing some of the big box reuse success stories. Towns have attempted to minimize the negative aspects of “big box” stores through design standards, retail size limits, abandonment protection and programs to strengthen existing small businesses.
Please comment with your ideas on what we should do or not do to address the problem of large vacant retail spaces.