As Retailers Cut Back Cities Confront 'Ghostboxes'

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Bismarck, N.D. (AP) -- As the recession takes its toll on big-box retailers, more communities across the country are having to confront giant empty stores.

They're eyesores that come with lost jobs and tax revenue.

Visiting professor Julia Christensen at Oberlin College in northern Ohio says there's not a landfill on earth able to handle all the big boxes that are sitting empty.

Christensen is the author of the book "Big Box Reuse" and has been studying the trend since 2002.

Some of the buildings have been transformed into museums, community centers, hospitals or schools.

Future tenants, however, can be restricted by the former retail chain.

An industry group says 6,900 retail stores announced closings last year, compared with 4,600 in 2007.

(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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