Beginning of the end for big-box?

In what has to be considered a major victory for the City of Toronto, the OMB has ruled against Smart Centres and their development in Leslieville that despite stated intentions, looked little more than a fluffed-up big-box plaza in a heavily urban context.

Being that this development would have occured on “employment lands” slated for non-retail types of development, this ruling would seem to set a precedent for future OMB appeals in this situation (I believe many big-box crapholes were built on industrial employment lands). If that is the case, than I am hoping we are seeing the beginning of the end of the big box style.

It may be the end of big box, but it just means the beginning of lifestyle centres, which are the newest trend in retail development. Unfortunately in my mind they are not much better, still relying on the suburban auto-dependent model, faux-architecture, and hastily-built stores.

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