Proposed Walmart Gets Icy Reception From Neighbors
DENVER (CBS4)– People living in the Congress Park Neighborhood and along those streets near 9th and Colorado are critical of a proposed project that includes Walmart.
The development is designed to be built on the old University Hospital campus located between 8th and 11th on Colorado. The Walmart would be built across the street from a possible Trader Joe’s location.
Walmart is the anchor store to what’s being billed as “New Urbanism” by the developer. Plans include a mix of luxury apartments, restaurants and stores.
The developer said it was designed to increase tax revenue, provide jobs and reinvigorate the area.
“It is our intent to create a world class project and I think we’re on our way to do that,” said developer Jeffery Fuqua.
That was the pitch before a room packed with residents on Wednesday evening. Many of those in attendance were from the Congress Park Neighborhood.
Some concerns the residents have are about increased traffic volume, crime and funding for the changes. The biggest concern to most of those voicing their opinions is the anchor store of the project: Walmart.
“Big box stores do nothing for the surrounding neighborhoods,” said one resident. “Walmart, in particular, is detrimental to local businesses.”
No one seemed to question the other chain stores being proposed like Trader Joe’s or Chipotle. But many were anxious to go after Walmart’s impact on mom and pop stores and what they claim are Walmart’s questionable business practices.
“They really are not a good employer,” said resident Denis Moyniham. “For a development like we’re talking about at 9th and Colorado, the neighbors want a sustainable development.”
Walmart’s spokesman said this store would be a newer concept with an urban feel. The store would be just over half the size of a normal Walmart with 119,000 square feet.
It would be the fourth smallest Walmart with a grocery in the state and have underground parking. The store does not plan to have the Tire and Lube Express sections or an Outdoor Garden Center like traditional Walmart stores have. The store also would not sell guns.
“It’s a much smaller store, a much more upscale design,” said Walmart spokesman Joshua Phair. “It’s something we’re really excited about.”
“We know we have support in the community because we have customers in the Denver metro area, just shy of 200,000 customers per day. We believe a lot of folks vote with their feet,” said Phair.