The Urban Big Box Battle
"Only a few years ago, suburb-saturating big box retailers saw the future, and it was urban. ... Known for their expansive properties in the suburbs, these retailers sometimes adapted their stores to urban settings in novel ways, such as the multi-story Home Depots that have been shoehorned into sites in Chicago and New York since the early 2000s.
...But urban big boxes nearly hit a big roadblock this summer. In a surprise and lopsided vote in July, the Chicago City Council approved a measure that mandated a minimum wage for big box retail workers in excess of federal and state levels.
...The Chicago ordinance was specific about what constitutes big box retail. It stipulated that retail companies with annual sales of $1 billion operating stores of more than 90,000 square feet in Chicago would be required to pay their workers a minimum of $9.25 per hour, plus $1.50 in benefits, starting next July. These figures would have risen to $10 and $3 respectively by 2010. Currently, the state-mandated minimum wage in Illinois is $6.50 an hour."
Thanks to Peter Slatin