The owner of a vacant lot set to become a 160,000 square-foot mega Walmart store in Midtown is asking the City of Miami to waive zoning regulations on recently submitted plans for construction of garage entrances and a truck loading area, arguing the additions would only be a “minor modification” of the city’s design standards.
The Akerman firm representing Cleveland-based Developers Diversified Realty, which owns the vacant land at 3055 N. Miami Avenue, asked the planning department to approve a design of a truck loading dock and garage entrance on the east side of the property facing Midtown Boulevard (NE 1st Avenue), between 29th Street and 30th Street.
The new entryways would be a “minor” modification to the street design, attorney Neisen Kasdin of the Akerman firm wrote in a letter dated Jan. 19, impacting the surrounding sidewalk, landscaping, street lights, and eliminating about five parallel parking spaces.
Niether DDR or Kasdin responded to requests for comment on Wednesday. We will update this post as more information becomes available.
As for the fewer parking spaces, Kasdin writes that won’t be a problem: the South Block South Retail project (codename for Walmart) will have a parking garage with capacity to accommodate more than 600 vehicles. The modifications won’t affect the surrounding streets because there are currently “few pedestrian trips within the immediate area,” Kasdin adds.
The placing of the loading dock and garage entry/exit on N.E. First Avenue “is a deliberate attempt to eliminate the prospect of any adverse impacts to the district generally and specifically to N. Miami Avenue and NE 31“ Street,” the letter states.
There has been a debate in the Midtown community since Walmart announced its plans to move in last October. Some support the discount-retail store, arguing it will generate jobs for people living in the surrounding community, and others, including local blogger A.C. Fernandez, have expressed concern that Walmart will stunt the general area’s ongoing development into a hip, cultural center and snatch away customers from small businesses.
DDR’s request that the city waive the zoning regulations promises to increase the concern of those who fear the impact that Walmart will have on Midtown.
Editor’s note: To read the full proposals and Kasdin’s letters to the city, click HERE. Let us know what you think we should highlight or investigate further. More documents, including a map of the loading area and a traffic impact study, will be available soon.
To join the conversation about the Midtown Walmart, submit a post to Open Media Miami’s blog.
Finally, h/t to @GrantStern for tipping us off to this story.
This post was produced in partnership with Open Media Miami.