What Will Happen To All Of The Empty Buildings?
I read a post over at The Crallspace the other day about many of the businesses that have closed in Corvallis, a small city in Oregon where I used to live. Compared with many of the cities I was familiar with back in the Midwest, Corvallis seemed to thriving when I lived there. I don't recall too many empty buildings, even downtown. But we all know that downtowns have been struggling since big box stores, malls, and crappy chain restaurants like Applebees and Outback Steakhouses have invaded the once farmland of city edges. The urban sprawl was the land of opportunity for bigger and better stores. Well, yesterday I took a trip down to Spokane, Washington. As I came in from the north through the miles of urban sprawl, I couldn't help but notice many newer buildings that were vacant. Restaurants, chain retailers like Linen N Things, Circuit City (well almost, they were having a going out of business sale), a party supply store, and many others. At first I was like, well this is depressing, but then I came to realize that I had despised the existences of most of these places. They were big, corporate, dependent on free trade with countries with awful human rights, and above all pointless. They sold bad food from factory farms to feed the fat, unhealthy consumer driving their SUV's from corporate chain-store to corporate chain-store like college barhoppers. They may have provided some jobs, but a more legitimate business would have as well. I feel some sympathy for the workers that were handed the pink slips, but not for the fact the businesses themselves are gone.
So what will become of the former buildings Linen N Things, Circuit Cities, and the many others that have come to pass amidst our recession? Will they remain vacant only to be demolished seven years from now?