Big Boxes do most of the retail trade, pay little in taxes
By Mike Comstock –
A salesman who keeps his “office” at home deducts that office portion of the home, and on and on. Let’s add another brick in the wall to the old storefront architecture, the e-commerce business. You can run three laptops, a printer, a server and your condo becomes “the office.” This trend has become a significant factor in the Liberty Village BIA where conversions of warehouses to large lofts and live-work units are causing a decline in commercial assessment. It has been shown in the BIA budgets and it affects their voting rights on what and where the street improvements are placed. With both these new-style commercial venues and the Big Box commercial retail formats, the city is really changing. Good city planning needs to involve the storefront neighbourhoods to strengthen these challenged but green and urban alternatives for shopping. The shopkeepers want the same safe and friendly lifestyle areas as do the residents. The city must face the shifting pattern of commercial property values and place more of the tax burden on the “Acres of Free Parking” folks where 80% of the retail dollar is spent.