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Thread: Wal-Mart loses battle for urban store in Miami

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    Wal-Mart loses battle for urban store in Miami

    From one of the skyscraper forums

    Wal*Mart proposed to open a store in downtown Miami next fall that would have been part of the new Midtown Miami retail complex. The retail complex features no surface parking and only sidewalk entrances, with a parking garage disguised from view and loading docks for trucks located in the centre of the structure, hidden from pedestrian views. They were willing, of course, to meet all the retail complexes urban demands, and even share anchoring the centre with Target, and take less desirable space on the second floor. However, Wal*Mart lost, as City of Miami officals wouldn't even hear of it, because of Wal*Mart's image. Nice to see Wal*Mart lose once in a while:

    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald...s/12859941.htm

    There is another big box urban retail centre going up in downtown Miami at 20th Street & 2nd Avenue. Hopefully Wal*Mart doesn't get in on this one either.
    Now how does the city justify having Target but deny Wal-Mart? It's not a height or traffic issue because the building is planned to proceed with the same leasable area with or without Wal-Mart. "Big-box retailers are welcome at The Shops at Midtown Miami -- except Wal-Mart." Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Target doesn't have nearly the negative image Wal-Mart does. There is a segment of the population that won't shop at Wal-Mart, particularly in urban areas. Would it really make sense from a business standpoint to make such a controversial store an anchor for your new development?

  3. #3
    I agree with your image assessment, but I don't believe Miami City Council should have been involved.

    Would it really make sense from a business standpoint to make such a controversial store an anchor for your new development?
    The business owner wanted Wal-Mart. It's not the cities place to decide which big box retailers can be tenants.
    ''We're not opposed to a Wal-Mart coming to the city of Miami,'' City Commissioner Johnny Winton said. ``That site is not one we want to be known as a Wal-Mart site.''

    What Winton and others don't like: Wal-Mart's ``image.''

    Winton said the city made that clear to Developers Diversified Realty when the project began several years ago, but the message had to be reiterated this summer when a Wal-Mart deal was proposed.

    Eric Brewer, Wal-Mart's Florida spokesman, said the chain was disappointed in losing out on the Midtown Miami project.

    Wal-Mart was willing to do a nontraditional, pedestrian-friendly design with multilevel parking garage with the option for a second-floor entrance, Brewer said.

    ''That project would have really helped Wal-Mart improve the perception in South Florida of our ability to build differently,'' Brewer said.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    ''Target doesn't have the same image that Wal-Mart has,'' Winton said. ``It's about the look and feel of the big box.''
    Ridiculous. Targets here are surrounded by vast seas of parking, just like Wal-Mart, and sell the same type of goods (and often the same exact goods, just at a higher price) imported from China that Wal-Mart does. The Targets are also nothing but "big boxes".

    This should help encourage Wal-Mart to never try to build a non-auto-oriented store (one without vast seas of parking, etc.) or an "urban" store.

    Shoppers will probably end up driving a few miles to a suburban style Wal-Mart. I don't see how that helps anyone, except the snobbery of the city council which doesn't want Wal-Mart's "image" tainting their urban shopping district.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I have heard people say they do not want any big box because of the appearance and the traffic it generates, then add that the city should recruit an Ikea instead. Never underestimate the stupidity of the common citizen (or elected official either). Miami would have a hard time defending their decision, if challenged.
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    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MennoJoshua
    ...the city council which doesn't want Wal-Mart's "image" tainting their urban shopping district.
    BINGO. That is the point. Creating a city image is important for many reason. In Miami, it is even more so than other becuase of tourism.

    I see nothing wrong with image creating, in order to build a stronger city.

    Will, the Wal*Mart go somewhere else... yes, hopefully someplace that doenst taint Miami's 'sense of place'

    PS. I also agree that Target has a VERY different image than W*M... why, I dont know, but it does, so that is reason enough for me.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ah.....

    At least Target has made an effort to build some other type of structure for infill development. The Deerfield Beach Target is a good example of a two story big box development (at least willing to give it a shot), also the Home Depot on Sunrise in Ft. Lauderdale could be an example that Wally World could learn a lot from.....but NOOO....they continue to use lawyers and the threat of lawsuits to get their way....

    From a legal standpoint, with good design regulations, a City could deny wally world for design issues alone (the two story examples would work well...parking on the roof maybe another good one to stop them with....) and if they decide to meet the requirements, great, let them build
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
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    Cyburbian mique28's avatar
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    HA HA sucks for Wal- Mart!
    The big problem that Wal-Mart ran in to in Miami is that they are one notch below Target in respectability for the white middle class. Obviously local gov't did not think that Wal-Mart's clientele would mesh with the demographics of shoppers they were looking to attract at "The Shops at wherever". I am sure the market analysis "revealed" it was a "poor fit". Of course this "image" issue is a shady reason to deny a business to locate somewhere... don't think that would hold up legally.

    Now, as for Wal-Mart's whackness, I boycott it for several reasons above and beyond its sprawl enducing, local business killing, sweatshop labored products. In my state, Wal-Mart, shortchanges its worker's health insurance so severely that thousands of its employees are forced to get state funded health care.... And it is not just Wisconsin but it is a national pattern.
    (I would link some backup data but I don't have enough posts under my belt to do so. If you wish to find info search "Shepherd Express" and look in this weekly magazine's archives for Wal-Mart)

    OOH ohh watch out for falling sick employees

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by mique28
    HA HA sucks for Wal- Mart!
    The big problem that Wal-Mart ran in to in Miami is that they are one notch below Target in respectability for the white middle class. Obviously local gov't did not think that Wal-Mart's clientele would mesh with the demographics of shoppers they were looking to attract at "The Shops at wherever". I am sure the market analysis "revealed" it was a "poor fit".
    Wal-Mart is one of the most successful (in terms of profit) retailers. I'm sure they did their own market analysis and discovered they'd be a great fit. If they did poor analyses, they wouldn't be #1.

    You may well be right about Wal-Mart's image among the white middle class. I certainly see more non-white shoppers at Wal-Marts here than I do at Target.

    I'm well aware of Wal-Mart's questionable business practices, although I'm not aware if other major retailers are any better. I used to know someone who worked at Target for years, was on part-time status but always was called in extra hours so effectively was full-time, didn't have any benefits, etc. For example, Wal-Mart is pretty abusive of requiring property tax abatements and so on of local governments wherever they build, but don't other major retailers (Lowe's comes to mind, simply from a story I read about a new one going up somewhere) engage in this sort of thing too?

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    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Ok folks, I know we have a couple of noobs in here, so I'll be gentle. Let's not hyjack this thread into a walmart generic good/bad thread, we've done that enough. Specific case by case discussion is fine, but if it leads to the same old arguments I'll close the thread.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Wal-Mart has a perception problem. That is nothing new for a dominant retailer. In the 1880's and early 1900's, companies like Sears and Montgomery Wards were forced to disguise their catalogs when they sent them through the mail because they were often tampered with. The post offices were usually located in and run by the small town general stores they took business from. Chain stores like Woolworth's, which had over 500 locations in the US by 1930, were subject to similar dislike by fellow merchants and people who did not like their competitive nature.

    Montgomery Wards is gone. Sears has been purchased by Kmart. Woolworth's survives as a chain of shoe stores (Foot Locker). Change is the only constant in the retail world.

    Wal-Mart was denied their approvals not based upon the design of the store and not based upon what they sell, but based on who they are. An just for the record, Menno, you are right. Wal-Mart's practices are similar to nearly all other retailers and they typically pay better than most.
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  12. #12
    I'm a little suprised by the reaction to this... It was never my intention to induce a Wal-Mart vs. Target debate. What I don't understand is how a city can prefer one retailer over another when both are similar on a strictly land-use basis (if not exactly the same!) I thought that practice would be illegal, guess not.

    So would it be possible for a city to ban chain stores from leasing in certain parts of town in favor of mom and pop shops? Let's say to keep a historic downtown unique instead of popeyes, burger kings, winn-dixies, etc... If so that would be great. If that's illegal, how is the Wal-Mart issue any different?

    Originally, the developer wanted Wal-Mart as a tenant, and Wal-Mart was willing to conform to the same urban design settings as Target. Even take up second floor residence above the Target. However the city would not have it as they made it clear from the very beginning that they did not want a Wal-Mart leasing space in this retail complex. But isn't that contract zoning? "We'll only approve this development if you agree not to have Wal-Mart as one of your big box tenants."



    Anyway, Here are some models of the retail complex.





    Target, Linens 'n Things, Circuit City, OfficeMax, PetSmart, Ross Dress for Less and West Elm have signed leases.

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    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    where is it located (streets)? And will Miami ever get over that awful fuax mediterranean building design.... I was hoping it was just a phase...

    the modern and international style buildings there look so much better.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    I'm a little suprised by the reaction to this... It was never my intention to induce a Wal-Mart vs. Target debate.
    I'm not surprised at all, it just shows the strength of Sam's Law. I really do not love WalMart, I am just easily annoyed hearing the same old crap all of the time. Your point is one that a couple of us have rasied at different times.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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    Quote Originally posted by H
    where is it located (streets)? And will Miami ever get over that awful fuax mediterranean building design.... I was hoping it was just a phase...

    the modern and international style buildings there look so much better.
    Them's fightin' words! Come on, Luca, let's get it on!

    Seriously, I would probably agree. Not a big fan of Developer Mediterranean.

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    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    .... What I don't understand is how a city can prefer one retailer over another when both are similar on a strictly land-use basis (if not exactly the same!) I thought that practice would be illegal, guess not...
    Without knowing all the facts, I think it may be illegal. Although I am an avid anti-Walmart-er, I don't see how one big box can be allowed (or many as it seems) and another can be denied, unless it is based on square footage that Wally World was not willing to budge about.
    I will be interested to see if this makes it to court and what the outcome will be.
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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RandomPlanner...
    Without knowing all the facts, I think it may be illegal. Although I am an avid anti-Walmart-er, I don't see how one big box can be allowed (or many as it seems) and another can be denied, unless it is based on square footage that Wally World was not willing to budge about.
    I will be interested to see if this makes it to court and what the outcome will be.
    This was something I brought up here when Home Depot came to town. They had already allowed a grocery store of similar size nearby, so the no big boxes arguement could not be used. Grocery stores have much higher trip generation and generally have a larger impact on public services than a hardware superstore, but opponents were still using that as reasoning. I wanted nothing more than to deny this personally, but they took care of the additional impacts and did everything consistent with our Comprehensive Plan (shocker). Their location was in the one area considered suitable for this type of development since the grocery store was already there.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

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    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    ... I wanted nothing more than to deny this personally, but they took care of the additional impacts and did everything consistent with our Comprehensive Plan (shocker). Their location was in the one area considered suitable for this type of development since the grocery store was already there.
    If they're willing to comply with the zoning, what can we say? I say it's about time these big boxes were asked to be consistent with the community and they actually AGREE to it!
    Now, if only I could get our zoning to reflect something like "new retail cannot duplicate existing retail selling the same basic products within a xx foot radius of the existing location", ...
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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Them's fightin' words! Come on, Luca, let's get it on!

    Seriously, I would probably agree. Not a big fan of Developer Mediterranean.
    1. There is no such thing as a 'mediterranean' style. As you travel up the coast from Andlusia to the Riviera, architecture and (especially) materials cahnge, though gradually.

    2. Most 'mediterranean' construction I've seen in the US (and new development sin Europe) is indeed atrocious. That does not mean it has to be that way, see for instance the plaza in KC or the original stuff. Conversely, nearly all large modernist buildings are dire.

    3. Miami? Build it Art Deco!!
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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MennoJoshua
    Ridiculous. Targets here are surrounded by vast seas of parking, just like Wal-Mart, and sell the same type of goods (and often the same exact goods, just at a higher price) imported from China that Wal-Mart does. The Targets are also nothing but "big boxes".
    The real issue here is class. Wal-Mart is associated with a lower-class clientele and downtown Miami is already filled with pawnbrokers, dollar stores and discount electronic shops. I think midtown is meant to provide an alternative shopping experience. While I do not believe the city council or city government in general should be interfering with private leases, I understand the motivation. Target is generally seen as more upscale, whether deservedly or not. We have had the same battle over the soon to be vacant space in Downtown Crossing (Boston) now occupied by Filene's.

    There is already a Wal-Mart within Miami city limits, just past the airport:

    Wal-Mart Store #3532
    8425 NW 13th Terrace
    Miami, FL 33126

    According to the page below, the developer is seeking significant infrastructure investments by the city. This explains the additional leverage the city has over future retail leases.

    http://ci.miami.fl.us/economicdevelo...BuenaVista.asp
    Last edited by jmello; 18 Oct 2005 at 10:17 AM.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RandomPlanner...
    Now, if only I could get our zoning to reflect something like "new retail cannot duplicate existing retail selling the same basic products within a xx foot radius of the existing location", ...
    Wht would you want that? Stores often congregate for good reasons. The best place for an antique store or a clothing store or etc., is often right next door to the same kind of store.
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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RandomPlanner...
    Now, if only I could get our zoning to reflect something like "new retail cannot duplicate existing retail selling the same basic products within a xx foot radius of the existing location", ...
    Not sure about what the US court system would say about that, but up here Courts have found that this type of zoning is not permitted. ie can't say that strip bars have to be separated from one another by x number of metres. The reason I use strip bars as the example is that they are what challended the legality of the City of Windsor's rules.
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    The real issue here is class. Wal-Mart is associated with a lower-class clientele and downtown Miami is already filled with pawnbrokers, dollar stores and discount electronic shops. I think midtown is meant to provide an alternative shopping experience. While I do not believe the city council or city government in general should be interfering with private leases, I understand the motivation. Target is generally seen as more upscale, whether deservedly or not. We have had the same battle over the soon to be vacant space in Downtown Crossing (Boston) now occupied by Filene's.

    There is already a Wal-Mart within Miami city limits, just past the airport:

    Wal-Mart Store #3532
    8425 NW 13th Terrace
    Miami, FL 33126

    According to the page below, the developer is seeking significant infrastructure investments by the city. This explains the additional leverage the city has over future retail leases.

    http://ci.miami.fl.us/economicdevelo...BuenaVista.asp
    But, given the demographics of Miami, and considering that Miami already has significant congregations of luxury shopping where the chic can congregate, why does downtown Miami, which should theoretically be for everyone, not just the elite, deny Wal Mart? Not that I choose to shop at Wal Mart, for a variety of reasons, but Wal Mart would probably bring more shoppers downtown than a collection of tourist boutiques would.

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm.....

    I heard on the radio this morning that Wally World will be suing the City of Miramar Florida (just NW of Miami) for a recent zoning? denial....

    http://www.nbc6.net/news/4559297/detail.html
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    There is already a Wal-Mart within Miami city limits, just past the airport:

    Wal-Mart Store #3532
    8425 NW 13th Terrace
    Miami, FL 33126
    Assuming that my maps are correct, that address is not in the City of Miami. It is in unincorporated Dade County. (That is, unless Dade County and the City of Miami are now truly one and the same entity.)

    I agree though, it is not government's place to say yes to one retailer and no to a very similar competitor in seperate spaces in the same complex. These decisions must be done 'blindfolded'.

    Mike

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