Hinsdale, NH. After 10 years, new tenant found for dead Wal-Mart Building
In July of 2007, officials in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, located east across the Connecticut River from Brattleboro, Vermont, learned that their "old" 105,000 s.f. Wal-Mart discount store most likely would be torn down.
Wal-Mart eventually built a 198,000 s.f. superstore roughly two mile away from the old site it had been leasing, called George's Field. The owner of the mall where the "old" discount stores was located told Hinsdale officials that she was close to signing a lease termination agreement with Wal-Mart. She said at the time that Wal-Mart’s abandoned building might have to be torn down and replaced with smaller buildings.
"The most important thing is lease termination, so I can start marketing the property and get other tenants in there," the owner, Deborah George, told the Brattleboro Reformer in 2007. "I think, ultimately, that building is going to have to come down. I don't think there's anybody who could fully use the box without leaving half of it vacant." Wal-Mart agreed to end its lease with 10 years left on the term.
Ten years later, George’s Field will have a new tenant, a “general merchandise” chain called Runnings, with 41 stores, based in Minnesota, which its owners say sells “top quality products at a fair price.”
"I was really afraid for the town of Hinsdale and for the future of George's Field," George said this week. "I needed to make sure Wal-Mart was not going to just exercise their options for the next 30 years allowing the building to stay dark as a barrier to entry of other retailers. It would have blighted this wonderful location…” George said she is aware that some business owners in the area might consider the new store a threat to their customer base.
Developers in the business understand that in many cases where Wal-Mart leases, they are in no rush to break their lease. It can be more important to them to leave the building empty to prevent competitors from moving in.
Wal-Mart objects to citizens who try to block their entry into a community---but the retailer has no qualms about keeping other retail competition out, once Wal-Mart is inside the market area.
What you can do: For more stories about how Wal-Mart has littered the American landscape with "dark stores," go to sprawl-busters.com,and on the Newsflash page search by "dark stores."