Elgin, IL. Wal-Mart Leaving Its "Dead Stores" Behind
Wal-Mart is playing musical stores in Illinois. A city councilor in Elgin, Illinois charges that Wal-Mart “will not sell the property to any business it deems to be a competitor with its Wal-Mart or Sam's Club retail stores. Additionally, Wal-Mart subjects any purchases to the same restriction in the event that buyer chooses to sell the property in the future.”
Its ‘old’ 118,000 s.f. store in Elgin now sits empty, with a damaged roof. A newer Wal-Mart has been open in Elgin since 2011, but the “dark store” it vacated sits empty since then.
In a few months, Wal-Mart will also be closing its store in the tiny village of East Dundee, Illinois (pop 2,900) location to the larger village of Carpentersville, "Wal-Mart is totally irresponsible to leave these abandoned buildings and not try to do something positive for the community," said a resident in the village of Lake in the Hills. "Certainly the new Wal-Mart Super Centers are wonderful to shop at, but what about the eyesores left behind?"
This leaves two dead stores in the region. The loss of the East Dundee Wal-Mart will result in a sales tax drop of $850,000 a year for the village. The Village Board this past week voted to raise is sales tax rate to 9.75% to make up for the lost revenue from the Wal-Mart move. Once a store is closed, its property tax bill also plummets, because the property tax is partly based on sales generated.
"Wal-Mart could sell the buildings to charitable organizations like churches or youth organizations at a reduced cost that would help improve the community. Instead their old buildings are standing in the Fox Valley waiting to tumble over,” complained one area resident.
In an op-ed piece, one local resident said: “The abandoned Wal-Mart building in Elgin and the soon-to-be empty store in East Dundee affect the property values in their communities. What is the point of building an entire new store without any regard for the old buildings left behind? A large retailer such as Wal-Mart could give the communities more respect…they should be taking responsibility for the old buildings left behind in those same communities.”
The writer said Wal-Mart brings “new jobs and revenue” to these villages—but that is not even correct. Wal-Mart’s larger buildings just shift jobs from existing retailers---including its now emptied stores, to the new buildings. Its just a form of voo-doo economics.
What you can do: To read the original story from the Chicago Tribune, go to:
Voters in these small villages in Illinois have been betrayed by their local Village Board members as well as Wal-Mart. Moving a huge store a few miles, and closing the 'old' one is just bad economics, and bad land use policy. These villages are just shifting assets around. It looks like economic development, but its not.
Instead of getting new Wal-Marts, which just cannibalize existing stores, local residents should get new political leaders who understand land use.