Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Unusual side effects.

So I heard the announcer on the TeeWee this morning saying that the newest Great Big Danger of the slowdown recession downturn contraction right-sizing whatever thing it is that the economy is doing is that unattended toddlers are going to be sleeping with the inflatable fishes in the abandoned swimming pools of foreclosed McMansions all across America. I didn't see the promised interview with the tearful mom, but I'm sure that the solution to the problem is legislative, and we'll soon have another "<$Dead Kid's Name>'s Law" that'll make everything okayer and expensiver and more paperwork-y.

Meanwhile, on a less tearjerking note, some folks are beginning to wonder what's going to happen to all the big boxes that have been emptied of their contents. Most towns can only support so many flea markets, gospel congregations, and indoor paintball courses, after all. I'm wondering what the eventual fallout in the commercial real estate market is going to be like. The mortgage on one of those huge suburban strip centers and the land on which it squats has got to be brutal; how are you going to make that huge monthly nut when your Sportsman's Warehouse, the Bed, Bath, & Beyond and the Circuit City have all closed and your only remaining tenants are a Great Clips, a Chinese takeout place, and a video game franchise that's been late two months out of the last three?

22 comments:

pdb said...

"...video game franchise that's been late two months out of the last three?"

Actually, I was closer to about 6 months in arrears by the time the landlord decided to kick me out. Late more often than not the last year, and paying in installments.

Personally, I would have thought some money was better than no money, but I don't run a strip mall. I notice that my old spot, and most of the others in the place are still vacant, 2 years later.

Tam said...

D'oh! :o

When I moved here, part of the attraction of Broad Ripple was The Board Room; a traditional tabletop geek store on 62nd. Unfortunately, they closed shortly after my arrival.

A Game Zone or Game Stop or Game Something opened in their place. I try to patronize them with what little business I do in DVD's or old vidjo games ($20/month? Maybe $40?) I want to see them do okay, but I know that profit margin has got to be razor thin. I think the only staff I've seen is the owner or his wife, and something tells me he still has a day job. It's tough to watch.

CGHill said...

We have a full-sized mall (140 stores, at least originally) that's lost all four of its anchors. No one knows how it survives.

Andy said...

You know, there's a strip mall near me with several ex-big box sized stores (namely, a Kroger, a Blockbuster and a Stein Mart) have all closed. The Kroger and Blockbuster were right next to each other at one end. And I look at them and think.... could we get a 100 yard indoor rifle range across the back?

If anyone needs a little idea, that is...

captcha: faticri - I'm not going to touch this one

MCSA said...

Now they're trying to legislate Tylenol and NyQuil - because too much will 'cause your liver to fail... (I know, it's Bob Barr, but...)

The trouble is after they pass that legislation, I won't have anywhere to turn to get the splitting headache caused by their bitching and moaning in the first place.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens: deadmalls.com

Joanna said...

Kids are going to drown in abandoned swimming pools? a) Don't most swimming pools get emptied, and b) how's a law going to keep a determined toddler from wandering into the ex-neighbors' yard?

karrde said...

In my neighborhood, there's already some local zoning ordinance about fences around pools.

I'd be surprised if that wasn't the case here; I'd also be surprised if the previous owner (or bank) can't be held liable for making sure the gate is closed.

There are businesses springing up which will cut grass and keep an eye on property that is bank-owned or has a vacant owner...can't such businesses also keep the pool empty and/or the gate closed?

Stretch said...

All those empty store will become medical centers under Obama-care.

Noah D said...

When I moved here, part of the attraction of Broad Ripple was The Board Room; a traditional tabletop geek store on 62nd. Unfortunately, they closed shortly after my arrival.

Ah, the Boardroom. Many a lazy Sunday afternoon spent there, communing with my geek tribe. Sorry to see it go, but having been both customer and employee for a long time, I wasn't surprised at all.

A Game Zone or Game Stop or Game Something opened in their place.

I think that was preceded by a nail salon - the rapidity of turnaround in those strip malls is, or at least should be, instructive for would-be entrepreneurs.

Rob K said...

I see you've been driving around Lafayette's east side. It's amazing how much is sitting empty. I was sad and a little surprised to see Sportsman's Warehouse close. They were the one gun store in the area open at a convenient time and they always seemed to be busy enough when I was in there.

John Stephens said...

Re: swimming pools

If the water table's high enough, you can't drain the pool or they float right up out of the ground. It's a real problem in the swampier parts of Florida, and probably elsewhere.

The Raving Prophet said...

I'd like to take an abandoned Wal-Mart size store (could be a closed home improvement warehouse or other large retail store) and turn it into an indoor skeet range. Most of them have ceilings that are high enough, and with some large sheets of Kevlar hanging from the rafters you should be able to stop the pellets (maybe some tests to be certain). I figure one of those large retail buildings should be good for at least 3 fields, all fully air conditioned and heated, in out of the weather.


Mmmm... indoor skeet...

docjim505 said...

My wife is a commercial real estate lawyer, and I passed your question to her. This is her response:

A lot of [malls / shopping centers] I have seen are refinancing or restructuring their debt to make it easier to pay when the tenants are gone. Some of them of course are letting the banks take the property back. Some of those stores are actually owned outright by the companies that filed bankruptcy so they are probably now owned by banks for that reason. Lots of new ideas are coming about. Some stores to remain unnamed are lotting off their parking lots and selling them to smaller companies to build as out parcels. Lots of creative thinking.

reflectoscope said...

Indoor golf?

Jim

Tam said...

The Raving Prophet,

"Mmmm... indoor skeet..."

Dude, that's frickin' GENIUS!!

I'd invest in that.

John said...

I'm still trying to figure out why the indoor skeet idea hasn't actually been done already, but Google doesn't show any evidence of it. (It does show that the idea isn't a new one, though.)

Question: do you require people to buy ammo at the (indoor) skeet range, or do you reinforce your backstop and roof against the possibility that some doofus is going to accidentally drop a couple shells of 00 buckshot or deer slugs in with his #8 birdshot?

WV: promists
The vaporous assurances offered by candidates on the hustings: vague, wispy and insubstantial, yet pleasing to the palate and soothing to the mind, like valium-laced muzak, which will soon be burned away in the harsh sunlight of reality following the election.

Tam said...

"Question: do you require people to buy ammo at the (indoor) skeet range, or do you reinforce your backstop and roof against the possibility that some doofus is going to accidentally drop a couple shells of 00 buckshot or deer slugs in with his #8 birdshot?"

Truthfully? A kevlar blanket 30' overhead is going to stop anything coming out of a shotgun this side of a Brenneke slug, but I'd still require shooters to purchase ammo on-site just to provide a bigger fig leaf against potential liability claims.

David said...

I coach a youth volleyball team and we have a hard time finding places to practice. I have contacted realtors and owners of several empty business that have high enough roofs to play in about letting us practice there.

I can't afford much monthly rent but since we are a non-profit organization the owner could take a tax deduction on the expense of donating the use of their facility.

No takers. Some how having the building sitting empty instead of collecting some rent, or getting a tax deduction for its use makes better business sense. I guess that is why I'm not a banker or business man, I just don't get it.

htrn said...

An indoor shooting complex does sound like a great idea, especially if it operates well past sundown. Add a "pro shop" and one of those mini fast food places, like you see in Home Despot these days..

BTW, they do make bullet resistant tiles for shooting ranges, designed to stop handgun rounds. So #8 birdshot would probably mean that they'd last damn near forever.

John said...

David: leaving the building to sit empty may qualify as a tax write-off that wouldn't be available if any serious use were entertained. It may also limit the amount of maintenance required by building codes or whatever.

reflectoscope said...

Training facility for JROTC etc.?

Jim