R-engineering The 'Big Box' Design
"City planners in Charlotte and other towns are taking a stronger stand against big-box stores such as Wal-Mart and Lowe's, responding to complaints about their monotonous facades and high vacancy rates.
More important, perhaps, its developers and those of the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Sardis Road North were the first in Charlotte to agree to conditions that make it more likely the stores will be re-used if they should ever go dark.
...Big-box chains are testing new types of stores in markets across the country, said Anita Kramer, director of retail development for the Urban Land Institute. While much of the credit for the shift goes to tenacious city planners, she said, the retailers themselves have also become more flexible."