Vacant buildings depress property values in neighborhoods. That’s not a theory, it’s a fact. It’s hard for an area to recover when it begins to decline. What’s worse is that people eventually stop caring, stop trying, and move away into better neighborhoods. When my husband and I first got married we lived in the north part of Kansas City. When it came time to purchase our first home, we opted to move south because it was a growing area with lots of potential and offered significantly better bang for our buck. Several shopping centers in our area have vacant space available in their buildings while shiny new ones are being built down the road. That makes me a little sad. I’m not saying that businesses aren’t allowed to have space of their own, I just wish they would make an effort to try to use the space we already have available instead of cutting down trees to build a concrete jungle.The new businesses aren’t what upset me the most, though, it’s the ones who move into new buildings and just abandon their old ones. It’s a horrible practice. It’s bad for the neighborhood, it’s bad for property values, and (worst of all) it’s bad for this planet.
The first time I saw this happen in my area was when On The Border built a new restaurant next to their old building. It’s LITERALLY right next door and shares a parking lot with the old building. The empty On The Border has been a vacant, abandoned eye sore since the new one opened a couple of years ago. That makes me sick. In my opinion there is absolutely no excuse to validate that practice. The most recent example of corporate irresponsibility is the CVS that closed its doors to open a newer, snazzier building just down the road. I have no doubt that the old building will sit empty for the next several years as well.
I once worked for a company where the CEO was adamant about proposing solutions when you oppose an issue and so I often think about what I would do if I had the power to make the kind of changes I feel are necessary to help restore our area. At this point, what’s done is done and you can’t go back and change what’s already happened. What you can do, however, and what I think both CVS and On The Border should do is give back to the community. Maybe On The Border could open up its first ever “cooking school” where they teach people a certain recipe for a nominal fee or perhaps they could use that building to host events catered by OTB. Maybe CVS could start caring about the community and open up a health and wellness center where they have volunteers who come in to teach classes on health, wellness, and nutrition. I’m not sure if this kind of thing happens because the people in charge are ignorant to what they’re doing to the community or if it’s because they simply don’t care but maybe they could each do something that doesn’t involve walking away and leaving a property empty and a neighborhood desperate for someone to bring it back to life.
Maybe, just maybe, people will start to care enough to speak up and not support businesses who are too shortsighted to see what they’re doing to the community. If you see something like this happening in your area, I implore you to say something. Speak up. If we don’t, nobody else will. When it comes to corporate irresponsibility, we all suffer. When businesses leave vacant buildings for months or years on end, property values decline, other businesses eventually walk away, the area loses its appeal, people move away only to start the cycle somewhere else.