Grill Walmart: The retail giant answers your questions

By | April 10th, 2012 | 14 Comments
"How May I Help You?" by Robby Campbell

Walmart answers 10 of your questions about its plan to open its first Miami location. -- illustration by Robby Campbell

On March 29, we gave you the opportunity to grill Walmart on its controversial plan to open its first location in the City of Miami, a two-story store in Midtown, and scores of you took the opportunity to be heard in the form of post comments, emails, tweets, and Facebook postings.

Read the rest of this entry »

Liberty City community members remember, mourn Trayvon Martin

By | March 31st, 2012 | 1 Comment

This is a community contribution as part of Beached Miami and Open Media Miami’s joint commitment to provide community news and opinion.

With thousands expected to attend a related rally at Bayfront Park on Sunday, an array of Liberty City community members, diverse in age and ethnicity, gathered in a brightly painted room at the Belafonte Tacolcy Center on Friday to pray and come to terms with the controversial death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who was not officially arrested for the shooting.

A 17-year-old African American who attended Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School, Martin was visiting his father in Sanford, Fl., when Zimmerman shot him dead in an incident that has garnered international attention and outrage among those who see it as a case of deadly racial profiling. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense.

Read the rest of this entry »

Grill Walmart: The retail giant is fielding your questions

By | March 29th, 2012 | 18 Comments
"How May I Help You?" by Robby Campbell

Got questions about Walmart's plan to open its first Miami location? The retail giant is at your service. -- illustration by Robby Campbell

Walmart’s plan to open its first City of Miami location, a two-story store in Midtown, has sparked contentious debate between people who see it as a threat to an emerging neighborhood and others who see it as a boon to residents who will benefit from easy access to inexpensive goods and new jobs. With so much at stake, Beached Miami, which has been leading the local media with its coverage of the Midtown Walmart debate, asked the retail giant if it would field questions from our readers. To its credit, Walmart agreed to be grilled.

Read the rest of this entry »

Park may hinder construction of Midtown Walmart (by design?)

By | March 27th, 2012 | 7 Comments

There’s a new twist in the debate over Walmart and the future of Midtown Miami.

A developer opposed to the store opening in the neighborhood, Alex Vadia, has submitted to the City of Miami a preliminary design for “Mpark”, a new urban park to be located on a narrow strip of land on Midtown Boulevard near N.E. 29th Street. The location is significant: The park’s plan includes property that Walmart had planned to use to build the entrance for a parking garage with space for 650 cars.

MPark Rendering
A preliminary rendering of MPark

Read the rest of this entry »

Major Midtown landowners clash over Walmart

By | March 22nd, 2012 | 4 Comments
Walmart via istockphoto

Two major Midtown landowners are battling over a proposed Walmart for the retail district. -- photo via istockphoto

The development company that owns Midtown Shops allegedly threatened to use an unorthodox legal tactic as part of its effort to bring Walmart to Midtown, one that the opposing lawyer called “distasteful” in a letter submitted to the City of Miami. That same letter also gives a hint of the legal and city code issues that could decide if the store is ever built or not.

The letter (in full below) is from Midtown Opportunities, a company managed by Alex Vadia that owns undeveloped land in Midtown and is opposed to Walmart’s plans to build a store in the neighborhood. The letter presents two key arguments:

Read the rest of this entry »

Miami growing up green with new parks

By | March 12th, 2012 | 8 Comments
Grand Central Park

Grand Central Park after dark. -- photo by Derek Cole, GCP

In the last few years, during the precipitous decline of Miami’s real estate fortunes, small urban parks have been replacing unbuilt towers, filling in the gaps of the city’s downtown core. Although the city has a new-ish and moderately ambitious parks master plan inspired by the Miami 21 zoning code, most of these parks are the result of independent, grassroots activism or private interests.

Read the rest of this entry »

Art Walk food truck roundup cancelled amid controversy

By | March 8th, 2012 | 13 Comments

The Wynwood Market, the usual gathering space for food trucks during Second Saturdays Art Walk, will be closed this Saturday. -- photo by Robby Campbell

The food truck roundup that accompanies Art Walk in Wynwood on the second Saturday of every month has been cancelled amid a storm of accusations between the food trucks operators and Brad Knoefler, the neighborhood activist who spearheaded the creation of Grand Central Park in downtown.

Art Walk itself will go on as usual (see our exhibition guide).

Read the rest of this entry »

WADA meeting to address neighborhood security, food trucks

By | March 6th, 2012 | No Comments

The Wynwood Arts District Association, a neighborhood association of business owners, is meeting today (Tuesday) at 5:30 p.m. outside of Wynwood Kitchen & Bar on N.W. Second Avenue to discuss the following issues.

Food trucks: Some gallery and restaurant owners believe that the food trucks that line N.W. Second Avenue during Art Walk on the second Saturday of the month are a nuisance. But not everyone, including, of course, the food truck owners, shares that view.

Neighborhood security: Unsanctioned graffiti is a problem in the neighborhood. WADA has been discussing getting additional security, but there have been concerns over the cost involved. Also, WADA has been working the city and District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff to improve street lighting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fox News zeroing in on Midtown Walmart story

By | March 6th, 2012 | 1 Comment

Fox News is requesting interviews with people involved in the Midtown Walmart debate.

The Midtown Walmart story might be getting the Fox News treatment.

A booker with the weekend edition of the show Fox & Friends has been reaching out to people involved in the issue, including anti-Walmart petitioner Grant Stern, to set up interviews.

Also likely to be on their list: Alicia Coker, who started a Facebook group on Monday called “Bring Walmart to Midtown” that, as of noon on Tuesday, March 6, has 21 members.

Read the rest of this entry »

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:

Read the rest of this entry »