Walmart Eyes Massive New Midtown Miami Store UPDATED

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walmartfront.jpg
photo by Sven via Wikimedia Commons
Just what midtown needs?
If an Ohio-based developer has its way, newly flourishing midtown Miami's newest tenant will be a 160,000-square-foot Walmart. The behemoth discount center would cover the five-acre spot just south of Petsmart on North Miami Avenue and would become the first Walmart inside Miami's city limits.

But that's assuming Miami's political establishment is more welcoming than it was in 2005, when the city commission refused to allow the king of big-box discounters to set up shop in midtown.


Cleveland-based Developers Diversified Realty (or DDR), which developed the Shops at Midtown Miami, owns the vacant land south of NW 31st Street and bordered by North Miami Avenue and NE First Avenue.

In a release touting plans to turn the site into a Walmart, the firm says the store would "further establish Midtown Miami as a dominant shopping and entertainment destination in the city."

But it's not clear how far along the approval process DDR has gotten in trying to clear Walmart for the neighborhood.

Marty Richmond, a spokesman for DDR, didn't return multiple calls from Riptide seeking comment. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, whose district includes midtown, also didn't return a call.

The company originally tried to include a Walmart in the Shops at Midtown in 2005, when the complex was still in the planning phase. But a coalition led by then-Commissioner Johnny Winton put the brakes on the idea.

"This site is not one we want to be known as a Walmart site," Winton told the Miami Herald at the time.

Midtown's image has been burnished in the past year-and-a-half as hip eateries such as Gigi and Sugarcane have set up shop and nightlife hotspot Bardot has flourished across the street. How would a big, neon-lit Walmart change the neighborhood's vibe?

At least one former city leader thinks Miami's politicos might be more receptive to Walmart this time around. Frank Rollason, a former assistant city manager, says Miami's economic death spiral gives the big retailer an opening.

"Right next to Midtown, you have a very poor residential neighborhood. You think those folks don't need jobs? You think they wouldn't work at Walmart?" he says.

Walmart critics, of course, charge that the giant retailer saps business from local stores by undercutting prices, while underpaying its workers. Rollason, at least, doesn't buy that argument.

"The theory is they're going to hurt mom-and-pop businesses, but where are all the mom-and-pops in Midtown Miami?" he says. "I can't feel sorry for one big-box store going up against another, especially if it brings jobs to the area."

Update: Michelle Belaire, a spokeswoman for Walmart, confirms that the store is working on an architectural proposal for the site.

Walmart has yet to file any paperwork with the city, she says, but the company expects to officially apply for construction permits by the end of the year.

"We're working with our architects, engineers, DDR and city staff to ensure we can deliver a state of the art facility," she says. "It's going to be consistent with the architecture in Midtown Miami."

Belaire offered a few more specifics on the plan as well. The store would have a full grocery, 350 employees and might include a two-story parking garage. The site is already zoned for a large store like Walmart, she says.

Walmart has been wanting to build in Miami's city limits "for years," Belaire says. "We have nine stores in Dade County, but the city is under-served."

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27 comments
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FL Prop Tax Appeal
FL Prop Tax Appeal

For those of us that live in Miami Beach, a Walmart in Midtown is fantastic. We need more shopping options, and the grocery store part of Walmart has great prices. I left Morningside after living there for 12 years with constant crime, and a Walmart off 31st St isn't going to do anything but continue to bring in shoppers.The Midtown residents need to focus on the Design District crime. It is as bad now as it was 20 years ago, if not worse.Let in a retailer that will bring in business and jobs!

Neticiser
Neticiser

Yay!!!  We need a discount shopping place in this town, as badly as we need a Fresh Market and a multiplex movie theater in or near Midtown.  Right now, our only options are Aventura, the Beach, or Coconut Grove.  Let's put Miami on the map at last!

DP - Midtown
DP - Midtown

LOL - this only works if Britto creates the neon sign.Seriously would love to see a Wal-Mart, but not at that location so close to the condos... my home. Would be better served in Wynwood to the South of Midtown. That area needs help and development

glass slipper
glass slipper

The more people that WalMart can eventually lead to unemployment or welfare the better it will be for WalMart because those unfortunate ones will end spending whatever money or food stamps they have at WalMart.

Its a win win for WalMart as most people are too stupid to look down the road and envision their own demise.

 And of course most of the scumbag politickscum do whatever fulfills their so-called "VI$ION" for that particular moment, like Sarnoff.

Xo
Xo

I hate this idea!!

Mandy344
Mandy344

 NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO  NO NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jorge Viera
Jorge Viera

What we need is a goddamned IKEA. Unless people actually enjoy trekking to sunrise for $20coffee tables.

Kyle Münzenrieder
Kyle Münzenrieder

Rollason is short sited. There may not be very many ma and pa stores in Midtown itself that would compete with a Walmart, but there are dozens of family-owned businesses in the extended area that could suffer. 

Plus if we're talking overall jobs, wouldn't it make more sense to lure a store that wouldn't compete directly with an existing store? A Best Buy or perhaps a movie theater? Maybe the Target wouldn't go completely out of business, but I could see them making cut backs as a result of the competition. 

J.R.
J.R.

Excellent news! Another outlet for chinese and other communist nations' goods. I do not blame walmart for its success; only its customers. Once upon a time, walmart championed the sales of goods made in USA. About three minutes after Sam Walton died, that changed. 

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

I wonder if they're going to sell guns and ammo... Given the fine neighborhoods around there

J.R.
J.R.

I think the ghetto urchins have more guns and ammo than walmart.

P_Nis
P_Nis

Will the Sarnoff resist the walmart the way he did the home depot in the grove?

Bleeding Palm
Bleeding Palm

I don't feel "under-served" by Walmart at all.

Danilo
Danilo

WalMart in Midtown ? The beginning of the end ?

Hsquared3
Hsquared3

I agree...we've lived here for just over a year and it was the vibe that brought us to Midtown...away from Brickell.  All I can say is...Walmart in, we're out!  Not even a 2nd thought about it. 

We've lived in other affluent neighborhoods that have experienced a WalMart moving in and from past experience it brought in undesirable elements as well as lower property values and completely changed the complexion and vibe of the area. Our neighborhood is already challenged with big trucks making deliveries making it difficult for residents to come and go.  If this is a 24 hour store...well...enough said!  

Hazel Gillett
Hazel Gillett

Of course the Greens and the Gays will be against this.....

Guest
Guest

I assume they and many more would be against this, since it's a bad idea.

NK
NK

Can you imagine the amount of traffic this will generate, as well as parking issues? Wal-Mart does not belong in a residential area.

Annie
Annie

Walmart Eyes Massive New Midtown Miami Store...@readers:disqus my co-worker's step-aunt makes $86 hourly on the laptop. She has been without work for 10 months but last month her paycheck was $8405 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read about it on this site CashHuge. com

LowWageJobs
LowWageJobs

2 blocks from Target?  odd.

AdamA
AdamA

Its the same in Hialeah...

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

...and the Walmart in West Kendall is a few blocks away from another Target.  Now there's a new Walmart in Westchester that's pretty close to the Target on Bird.

Vernon6
Vernon6

Casinos & WalMart...Miami, City of the Future!

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