Walmart Is Coming to Midtown, Like It or Not

Categories: News

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Get ready, Miami: Your friends, neighbors, and kinfolk are now fair fodder for the blog "People of Walmart." Last night, city commissioners approved a 203,000-square-foot, three-story superstore in midtown. For two years, proponents have argued the project would bring jobs and money to the Magic City, while critics have said a commercial behemoth next to a burgeoning arts district would stifle the area's growth.

The Planning, Zoning & Appeals board approved the construction project in October. If the commission didn't also give the go-ahead, the matter could have gone to a public hearing.

As expected, speeches on both sides were impassioned. The language used during final arguments, though, was comically melodramatic.

See also: Midtown Walmart: City Official's Offensive Email Emerges Just Before Final Vote Tonight

"There was once a remarkable dream called midtown Miami," Richard Lydecker, an attorney for Walmart, said before the commission. "That dream of midtown Miami was not completed, because there is another half of that tract that sits there just riddled with trash and junk."

But just because Lydecker waxed poetic doesn't mean the fight hadn't already grown ugly. Yesterday, Riptide published a blatantly classist email from the City of Miami's chief of urban design that revealed his opinion of Walmart customers.

Enrique D. Nuñez -- a man who was supposed to weigh in on the retail giant's fate without bias -- began his missive with the title "The Latest Walmartians." The message he sent to other members of his department contained images of overweight shoppers making bizarre tattoo and sartorial decisions. The implication was that Walmart shoppers are overwhelmingly lowbrow.

The debate lasted four hours. Three commissioners -- Wilfredo Gort, Marc Sarnoff, and Frank Carollo -- voted in favor. Two others were absent. The chamber was packed with people wearing "Miami Loves Walmart" T-shirts. One of them, who declined to give his name, told the Miami Herald that Walmart had paid him $100 to attend the meeting.

Will the new Walmart help lower-income Miamians, or will it shutter mom-and-pop stores in the area? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

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70 comments
Marc305
Marc305

My 2 cents..

First of all let me say that I have done enough research on the Walton family to know that they are a greedy bunch and that everything I have read on this tread describes them accurately.

Second, I also know that (for those of you who hate this store) it makes you feel really good to post on-line that you will not set foot inside the Midtown Walmart.

Here is the reality check. You not buying your trinkets at their store means nothing to Walmart. Why??? because millions of other people do. Last year their gross profit was 447 billion worldwide, that is almost a half of Trillion dollars.

They always knew they would get their way in Midtown, because there are already big box stores there. Target, Ross, Marshall's, etc have set the precedence. It was a war that was already won by them even before the first battle.

Now, just for one second try to take off your no-walmart-in-midtown glasses and really look at the area. It is surrounded by nasty neighborhoods. There is nothing but warehouses south of the Petsmart and it is an eye sore. I say bring more big box stores, bring Sam's, Ikea, Costco, Brandsmart, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc etc. Downtown Miami needs them.

And for those of you bitching about the traffic... move!!! Miami will become Manhattan whether you like it or not, and there is nothing you can do about it other than waste your time bitching!

grantstern
grantstern

Vote with your dollars.

Join me at www.nowalmartinmidtown.com

1) Now that the political phase of our appeal of Walmart's permit has concluded, we are proceeding with all haste to file a Court action to challenge the permit in front of an impartial panel of 3 judges of the 11th Circuit Court in Miami. 

2) This statement is factually incorrect "The Planning, Zoning & Appeals board approved the construction project in October. If the commission didn't also give the go-ahead, the matter could have gone to a public hearing." 

Our rights were already violated before we walked in the door.  Nothing the commission would have done would've brought back the public's right to a hearing except declining the project and making the applicant (Walmart) re-apply.

Walmart avoided having a public hearing during the application process, and the city avoided ordering an independent traffic study which would become public record, by gaming the approval process.

3) I, for one, will never set foot in a Walmart so long as they attempt to build in Midtown, or if they ever DO build in Midtown.  That is called voting with your dollars.

Sally
Sally

I LOVE LOVE LOVE WALMART!!! I save sooooo much money there it is GREAT!

Anais1106
Anais1106

how about people take their head out of their ass and fight about things that actually matter 

Valerie Petralia
Valerie Petralia

There are actually quite a number of small businesses in Miami that offer more than we could ever need. If you don't like it, don't shop there. It's all about making the right choices.

Mabel Gonzalez Nava
Mabel Gonzalez Nava

Oh yeah because Miami has a whole bunch of "mom n pop shops" everywhere...choke on your lattes beatniks

breadchastick03
breadchastick03

Walmart, no matter what location, is always hell on earth. 

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

Elitist, NIMBY snobs lose,  community wins

Miguel Marquez
Miguel Marquez

To all those complaining about Walmart's low wages and poor treatment of it's workers, where were you when they broke ground on the Walmart on Flagler and 92ave. There will now be three Walmarts within a 5 mile radius. The fact that you didn't react to that Walmart, but are blowing a fuse over this one shows you really don't care about anyone except yourselves, your image, and your property value.. Get over yourselves

Ariel Mendez
Ariel Mendez

I'm gonna stakeout & take photos of everyone who was complaining entering this new Walmart.

Cary Campria
Cary Campria

People need to get past this already...so it sucks, move on! There are so many other important issues that no one gets behind but God forbid the "low rent" folk impose on their precious artsy fartsy neighborhood, which isn't even that great...try driving a few blocks past Midtown in it gets real seedy fast!

Marisa Altman
Marisa Altman

I can't wait! No more having to drive all the way to North Miami

Justin Kindler
Justin Kindler

Midtown is about to be one the new Overtown. Do they thinking parking and traffic won't be an issue. Try getting in and out of the Doral Walmart.

Camilo Gonzalez
Camilo Gonzalez

i bet @ 3am on a tuesday, half of yall will be there shopping for toothpaste or tampons!!!

Tu Madre
Tu Madre

There goes the neighborhood.

dmoney114
dmoney114

good bye midtown2, midtown4, midblock, midrise real estate value!

Vince Witty
Vince Witty

We don't like it so fuck off walmart

Camilo Gonzalez
Camilo Gonzalez

hey portlandia hipsters, calm the fuck down! your precious artwork wont be effected by it.. smh..

Rafael Velez Jr
Rafael Velez Jr

Good bye to local businesses, the city just fucked you with no KY. They put money in their pockets before the people.

Jose Canto
Jose Canto

What is the difference between waltmart and target? Ross or Marshall? Are those high end store? I am sure all of you have been there at some point. Our Madison is right next to overtown, should we ask the city to build a fence because we feel superior? Please people, come back to your senses.

Jackie Biver
Jackie Biver

Walmart sells low quality goods and pays low wages, don't see the benefit of having them here. More local businesses would be great for the area! Boo, I say.

Alex Pappas
Alex Pappas

kickback checks and duffle bags stuffed w cash. well done commissioners! despite all the evidence walmart brings down the area and treats its employees like crap AND no one here wanted it, you put yourselves before city.

Casey C Chu
Casey C Chu

These stories about the midtown Walmart smack of quasi puff pieces. What is the big deal? There is a Walmart everywhere in America. Keep giving them free advertising why don't you.

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

Awesome.  If only I even cared to visit the area so I could watch all the hipsters crying in their lattes about this.

Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon
Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon

And Josh Marino-- the majority of the items that Wal-Mart sells are cheap in price, and usually quality, at the cost of cheap labor. Oh, and they don't treat their employees too great either. I have observed this many times when I used to shop there. They are less than thrilled to be there.

ckinsobe
ckinsobe

@Mabel Gonzalez Nava So you approve of poverty wages and subsidizing Walmart employees with your taxes? You are also seemingly against keeping money in the local economy and support it going to Walmart head quarters or to off shore accounts. You don't seem to know that neighborhood very well it is full of smaller businesses, the kind that keep the money they make and pay their employees circulating here thus enriching the local economy. And if there is to be a chain then it could be a COSTCO or a Trader Joes or IKEA those are all companies that pay their employees well and also could fit in better in the area.


ckinsobe
ckinsobe

@miamitrev2  Reall? The community wins when a massive company that pays substandard wages, relies on tax payer bail outs, hurts local businesses that keep money in the local economy and instead funnel it off to their corporate head quarters or off shore accounts??? You have a strange concept of "winning".

ckinsobe
ckinsobe

@Miguel Marquez 

Back when that Walmart opened I had no clue about their horrid record on everything from how they treat their employees to their suppliers and how they decimate local businesses in the neighborhoods they are in.Not to mention how tax payers end up subsidizing their poverty wages. I now know better and will never again set foot in a Walmart. The Walmart you speak of has been open a long time. It is a different world now. 

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

@Miguel Marquez  

Bingo.

ivxx
ivxx

@NotWorthIt I'm not defending or advocating, nor am I bashing Walmart, i just think everyone should read the full details before immidiately believing something that might've been taken out of context. Walmart has a large employee workforce per store, those collection bins were put out in employee only areas for families going through some major life crisis. Not to say being paid poorly isn't a crisis, but it's not the same as someone who lost a spouse, or had a medical emergency, or lost there house to natural causes. It was put together as a gesture of goodwill from fellow employees for their colleagues, not because they're too poor to afford food.


Once again, I'm not advocating Walmart's policies or actions, just saying there's usually more than one side to a story... this one is being spun

ckinsobe
ckinsobe

@Camilo Gonzalez Do you really u think this is only about keeping the area "trendy"? If you work and pay taxes YOU are subsidizing this cheap ass company. it is about welcoming decent companies and attracting well paying jobs for the people of the city not selling out to the highest bidder like the Miami commissioners did.

ckinsobe
ckinsobe

@Jose CantoWalmart trains their employees to seek government assistance thus costing YOU the tax payer money., They are one of the richest companies/families on this planet yet will not pay decent wages any other companies do not do this. Costco is one, Trader Joes or IKEA others. Walmart also squeezes every ounce of blood out of their own suppliers, many times hurting them in the process, you can read about this here:
http://www.fastcompany.com/47593/wal-mart-you-dont-know. They are toxic IMO.

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

@ckinsobe

"Substandard"  They pay at least minimum wage do they not?   If their employees feel that their  pay is substandard they are more than welcome to seek employment elsewhere

mike.marquez
mike.marquez

The Wal-Mart I speak of is currently being built. See there's already a Wal-Mart in Doral on 87ave and NW 12st. There's also one 3 miles away on 84ave and Coral Way. The NEW one is being built in between the 2 on Flagler and 92ave. I'm not knocking your message, but the majority of those complaining aren't doing so for the sake of Wal-Mart employees. That's what's bothering me, that they pretend to care about others but are really looking out for themselves.

ckinsobe
ckinsobe

@miamitrev2 @ckinsobe They train their employees to seek out government assistance, YOU are subsidizing the cheap ass wages.

ckinsobe
ckinsobe

@mike.marquez  

There are a lot of people working against Walmart for an assortment of reasons, some can be real estate driven some can be because of their poor record in general. I have been part of a concerted effort for a few years to inform and spread the word about how abusive this company is (where I did use to shop). There is a lot more awareness all over the country about how awful they are now. I really had no idea that there was yet another coming in that other area, but residents and local biz there need to stand up if they don't want it which is what happened in Wynwood. I am often in Wynwood although I live on the beach and feel Walmart along with the massive problems they bring to ANY area they come to would be a bad fit for what is a growing and vibrant part of the city..Here on the beach we stopped a Home Depot from coming to Bay Road and West Ave and now we have a great little neighborhood full of local shops restaurants and a Fresh Market instead of a waste land created by a Home Depot. It is all about good urban planning and citizens showing up.


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