Despite setback, Walmart to move forward in Midtown [UPDATED]

By | February 29th, 2012 | 8 Comments
Walmart via istockphoto

The company that wants to bring Walmart to Midtown has hit a road block with the City of Miami planning director. -- photo via istockphoto

Update #2: Walmart’s plans to open its first City of Miami location may have hit a snag with the city’s planning department Tuesday (see below), but the retail giant is nonetheless going forward with plans for a store in Midtown and is working on new plans to submit to the city, as well as a more robust community outreach effort. We will have more soon. For now, here’s the official statement from Steve Restivo, Walmart’s senior director of community affairs:

We think a Walmart store in Midtown can be part of the solution for Miami residents who need a job or want more affordable access to fresh groceries. While we have not yet submitted formal plans to the city, we think a store here can have a positive economic impact on the surrounding neighborhood and look forward to engaging with folks who live and work in the area. We want to come to the city the right way and look forward to a public process that allows us to listen, answer questions and share information about our company. We find that the more people learn facts about Walmart, the more they recognize the value in bringing a store to their community.

Update #1: The company that wants to build a 160,000-square-foot Walmart on a parcel of land at the southwest corner of Midtown has rescinded a related zoning request to the City of Miami. In effect, the controversial plans to build a Walmart in Midtown are on hold indefinitely.

The city’s Planning Director, Francisco J. Garcia, said he informed Diversified Development Reality (DDR) that the plans they submitted to build a loading dock and parking garage on Midtown Boulevard and 30th Street were “inadequate” and that he could not consider the changes they were requesting as “minor” adjustments to the city’s code. DDR could have revised or updated the proposal but instead withdrew it Wednesday afternoon, according to Garcia.

“The plans were inadequate and were not conducive to the type of pedestrian activity that we envision along Midtown Boulevard,” Garcia said.

Read below for background on the story.

Original Story

The City of Miami is not processing a zoning request submitted by the company seeking to bring Walmart to Midtown, until “additional information” is submitted, according to an email sent by Planning Director Francisco J. Garcia.

A request submitted on Jan. 19 by Diversified Development Reality (DDR), which wants to build a 16,000-square-foot Walmart on a parcel of land at the southwest corner of Midtown, asked the city’s planning department to consider as “minor” the streetscape changes detailed in plans to build a loading dock and parking garage on Midtown Boulevard and 30th Street.

If Garcia were to reject the request, the plans would be subject to additional review and possibly a public hearing.

According to the email, which Garcia sent on Tuesday in response to questions from residents, DDR’s request is effectively on hold and “will not be acted upon” until the planning and zoning department has received a “complete and valid application.”

Related Links

“Midtown developer asks city to reject Walmart zoning request”
“Opinion: City should reject Walmart zoning request”
“Puerto Rican business group supports Midtown Walmart”
“Midtown Walmart Would Force Art Fairs Out”
“Plans for Midtown Walmart emerge with zoning request”
“Op-ed: Midtown Walmart will hurt job growth, local businesses”

This post was produced in partnership with Open Media Miami.

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8 Comments on “Despite setback, Walmart to move forward in Midtown [UPDATED]”

  1. 1 Brooke said at 2:15 pm on February 29th, 2012:

    The warrant permit process is explained in Article 7.1.2.4 of the Miami 21 Code (www.Miami21.org) . The additional information that is being requested is most likely similar to the requirements for submittal to the Internal Design Review requirements found here (http://www.miamigov.com/Planning/pages/services/Forms.asp). Basically, the planning department needs more information other than “we want to change the road”, DDR needs to submit plans for the full development in order for the department to effectively evaluate them.

  2. 2 exMiami said at 8:14 pm on February 29th, 2012:

    Hopefully this means walmart is dropping their midtown plans altogether.

    To the author: The proposed store is 160,000 sf, not 16,000.

  3. 3 Jordan Melnick said at 9:11 pm on February 29th, 2012:

    Thanks for the correction, exMiami. That was an editing mistake on my part, not the author’s.

  4. 4 Leah said at 7:16 am on March 1st, 2012:

    So, basically, whether or not a gigantic big box store gets to plop right into the middle of Midtown hangs in the balance of one person’s rubber stamping a permit application?

  5. 5 Jordan Melnick said at 10:38 am on March 1st, 2012:

    Leah, it seems more promising than that, insofar as the DDR request ran up against the Miami 21 code, not merely one man’s personal preference.

  6. 6 Kaelsie said at 9:41 am on March 2nd, 2012:

    I CAN’T wait to see what this “robust” community outreach consists of. I don’t really believe that Walmart is willing to make the changes to their store/policies that will placate the community residents concerns.

    Will they:
    -Build a well-designed store?
    -Not bring 600 additional cars into the Midtown neighborhood?
    -Pay their employees fair wages and give them real benefits, thereby creating quality jobs?
    -Provide some outdoor space either in the way of outdoor seating or green space? And I’m not talking about those nasty two picnic tables that their employees use as smoking areas?
    -Not bring freight trucks into the heart of the Midtown neighborhood?

    …yeah right.

  7. 7 Jordan Melnick said at 1:18 pm on March 2nd, 2012:

    From The Atlantic: “Counties with more small businesses tend to have lower rates of mortality, obesity, and diabetes, while those with more large retailers tend to post higher rates of these poor-health indicators. The authors explain that communities with thriving small businesses may be more likely to support bond issues for health infrastructures, recruit physicians, push for local anti-smoking legislation, promote community health programs, and support local farmers’ markets.”

  8. 8 Marc said at 11:31 am on March 6th, 2012:

    Not everyone is against Walmart, join us HERE.


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