Big blue retailer WalMart says that contrary to a report Wednesday, its plans to build a store in Midtown Miami are not "on hold indefinitely."
Those in opposition to the planned WalMart store on the south edge of Midtown enjoyed a sense of triumph yesterday after Diversified Development Reality rescinded a WalMart-related zoning request to the City of Miami. City Planning Director Francisco J. Garcia told Open Media Miami that the submitted plans were "inadequate" and "not conducive to the type of pedestrian activity that we envision along Midtown Boulevard."
But WalMart's Senior Director of Community Affairs says the company simply hasn't yet submitted formal plans. In a statement, Steve Restivo confirmed the retailer is moving forward:
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.
Restivo was traveling Thursday and not immediately available to clarify what issues specifically the public process would entail (DDR did already file the zoning request it rescinded, seemingly without such public process). But opponents to WalMart likely don't believe there is a "right way" for the store to come to Miami, regardless of how parking or loading docks are addressed.
"Bringing a Walmart to the the center of a thriving community is a horrible idea," wrote blogger A.C. Fernandez of Annush On The Causeway. "But to say that it is only a horrible idea because of its lack of aesthetic value or who the intended or potential customers are, is an incredibly simplistic line of reasoning. Opening a Walmart in Midtown is a bad idea because Walmart eliminates more jobs than it creates, drives out competitors, lowers wages for the rest of the industry, and costs taxpayers money."