There are many reasons that Wal-Mart doesn’t belong in Midtown Miami. The existing roads bordering Midtown Miami already suffer from brutal gridlock. Adding an estimated 3,000 vehicles per day, fighting to occupy 580 free Wal-Mart parking spaces will only exacerbate the problem. Furthermore, frustrated drivers will seek shortcuts through Midtown’s residential roads creating a safety concern for pedestrians and cyclists.
The blatant disregard by Wal-Mart for Midtown’s design code is even more troubling. Their flawed, disjointed and non-compliant set of plans presented by Gensler Architects clearly violates numerous district standards of architectural importance. Wal-Mart’s Megastore proposal includes a service entrance specifically forbidden by the Miami Midtown District zoning regulations and lacks the active uses, setbacks and active liners required to build in Midtown. The result will be a 200,000-square-foot eye-sore that will inhibit and deter the flow of pedestrian traffic from Midtown into Wynwood.
Towards the end of the Miami Urban Development Review Board hearing on Feb. 20, Wal-Mart’s attorney, Alfredo L. Gonzalez, said "We’re just at a point where the project is taking way too long." Mr. Gonzalez, Wal-Mart, and the city planning office fail to realize that rushing a bad project through planning can lead to decades of negative outcome. Ignoring major elements of the Midtown Miami code, just because it isn’t agreeable to Wal-Mart’s timeline, is a mistake that the city of Miami cannot afford to make.
I strongly urge the city of Miami to reject Wal-Mart’s request for a Class II Special Permit to build in Midtown Miami.
Jacob Pfeffer, COO, Splash Perfumes and Tick Tock, Miami