Walmart versus the city

This is what urban economic analyst Joe Minicozzi calls "The Money Shot," comparing a Walmart in Asheville, NC, to a downtown mixed-use building in the same city. He puts all of these economic indicators side by side that show the relative poor performance of Walmart, which is the gold standard of big box development in conventional suburbia. Minicozzi has conducted similar analyses of dozens of cities and counties across America with the firm Urban3.

A municipality is a corporation, just like a business, he says. We are all shareholders, wherever we live. A primary asset of the city is the tax-generating productivity of its land. Walmart serves a need, but why would a City choose to put its resources toward supporting Walmart when the downtown creates a greater fiscal foundation? For municipal fiscal return, the best best is downtown development.