At Wal-Mart, we’re planning to open a store at a vacant site at the southeast corner of North Miami Avenue and Northeast 31 Street in Miami. Most residents and community stakeholders view our proposal as a common-sense solution to fulfill a long-standing desire to develop the southern end of the Shops at Midtown while at the same time delivering jobs and affordable shopping options to the surrounding community.
These groups are supportive because they’ve witnessed our 20-plus years of service in Miami-Dade County that includes putting people to work, generating tax revenue, helping customers save and contributing to local non-profits. In fact, we’ve donated more than $48 million to Florida non-profits last year alone and sustained long-standing partnerships with groups such as City Year Miami, Amigos for Kids, and Feeding South Florida.
Now we’re working to make access to our brand more convenient by building a new store in Midtown. Over the past two years we’ve listened to residents, community leaders, stakeholders and city staff, and their feedback is reflected in many of the unique design elements we’ve incorporated into our plans. We recently submitted an amended permit application that incorporates recommendations from the city’s Urban Design and Review Board.
Our plans now include second floor liner space along Midtown Boulevard and North Miami Avenue that will conceal the store’s parking garage from street view as well as landscaping enhancements on the building’s rooftop. The retail liner will activate the now dormant stretch of Midtown Boulevard between 31st Street and 29th street. These characteristics will better integrate our store within the existing Midtown streetscape.
Other features include a glass storefront at street level, multiple pedestrian entrances, metal canopies and awnings for shade as well as an adjacent building with street-level retail. It includes more than 16,000 square feet of space designated for independently-operated shops and restaurants.
Still, a few, agenda-driven individuals have worked overtime to block new economic development opportunities from coming to Midtown. They claim there are flaws in our design and that efforts to stop the store are in the best interest of Miami residents. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our proposal meets or exceeds the city’s code and we believe residents should choose for themselves where they shop or work.
Even our loudest opponents would agree that when we open our Midtown hiring center, residents will come out in droves to apply for a job.
Thousands more will make the choice to shop there on a regular basis.
Moving forward, we will continue working with the city and community to deliver a store that reflects the look and feel of Midtown Miami in 2015.
Steven Restivo, senior director of communications, Wal-Mart, Toms River, N.J.