Despite naysayers, Wal-Mart coming to midtown

More jobs coming for hopeful residents of Little Haiti

Ashley Montgomery | 12/5/2013, 9 a.m.
After two years of back and forth discussions between the Miami Zoning appeals board and the advocates of the possible ...

After two years of back and forth discussions between the Miami Zoning appeals board and the advocates of the possible Midtown Wal-Mart, the City of Miami commission has given the OK to move forward.



The four-hour debate ended with commissioners making a unanimous decision, granting Wal-Mart with the Class 2 Special Permit. As Wal-Mart starts developing plans, opponents are less than happy and say they are looking to fight the issue in court.

“There is the chance that opponents will now take to court — but this was the final City decision in the matter,” a Wal-Mart representative said.

Commission Chair, Marc Sarnoff alongside Commissioners Frank Carollo and Wilfredo Gort, voted for the new Wal-Mart. Commissioner Francis Suarez was not present as he was vacating in Mexico; Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones had already left before the vote took place but previously publicly announced her support for the plan.

Bill Wertz, spokesman for Wal-Mart says that they are anxious to provide for the community in several ways. The world’s largest retailer is looking forward to assisting Blacks as well as others in getting a job there. Wertz said that over 350 jobs will be added to members of the Little Haiti, Overtown and Allapattah neighborhood in particular.

“Currently there are residents who take the bus 22 miles because it is the closest store to them. Now residents will be able to simply cross the street.”

Wertz noted that Wal-Mart’s U.S. workforce is about 1.3 million associates, including more than 807,000 female associates and more than 255,000 Black associates.

“We are pleased that the City of Miami Commission has upheld the Planning Department’s decision, recognizing that the proposed store meets city requirements and fits within the overall vision for Midtown Miami,” Lorenzo Lopez, senior director of communications for Walmart said.

“The majority [of residents] are supportive of having a store nearby — we look forward to bringing affordable groceries to these residents beginning in 2015,” Lopez said.

Wal-Mart will build a 203,000-square-foot, three-story superstore, with 577 parking spaces and several loading bays. The plan is to make this Wal-Mart modern so that it blends in well with such a “trendy” neighborhood.