Big Boxes

In Retail Thoughts on April 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I was in Naples, FL with family a couple of weekends ago. Naples is a strange place.  It’s not urban and it’s not suburban.  It’s very much a tourist town with a lot of retirees. It’s the most well-known and populous municipality in Collier County, a county with approx. 315,000 people (2007 Census), which is roughly half the population of Boston city proper. Naples and its surrounding communities combine for a population of approximately 60,000.  Naples though has more shopping centers than any place I have ever been to.  It is amazing.  Even considering the tourism, the numbers just don’t add up to me.  It’s all big box retail, the centers all look the same and the tenant mix is close to identical in every center.  You name a chain restaurant and I’d be shocked if you won’t find it in Naples. There are enormous parking lots at every center, there’s a lot of traffic and you see few people walking or biking.  Naples retail is about as far as you can get from the urban stuff we work on here at CityRetail.

Given all of the above, when I heard that one of the biggest shopping centers in all of southwest FL was just 2 miles from the airport I had to check it out.  This place, Gulf Coast Town Center, is HUGE – unlike any center I’ve ever seen in the Northeast.  Here are some pictures of just a few of the big box retailers:

Marshalls directly adjacent to a Ross, two very similar concepts

  1. This is why we live in the north east. We also have topography here.

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