MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The long fight over putting a Walmart store in Midtown Miami took another turn Monday when the city approved the company’s architectural plans, according to the Miami New Times.
Walmart will still have to receive a building permit before beginning construction on the new store which will be roughly 156,000 square feet. While the plans appear to be on track after the initial approval, Walmart still has a long way to go to get the store built.
Proponents say the Walmart would create as many as 750 construction and retail jobs and be a source of fresh produce and affordable consumer goods.
But, some residents in the area have been fighting the shopping giant at every step of the way and say the store will hurt the feel of a luxury area if a Walmart is built in Midtown. The area already has a Target at the Shops of Midtown.
The fight over whether to build a Walmart in the area has been ongoing for around two years.
The new plans are for roughly the same location where Walmart in 2005 proposed a nontraditional, design with a multilevel parking garage that was shot down by then Miami City Commissioner Johnny Winton and other city officials.
But at that time, Midtown Miami was still under construction. While the Walmart deal was never officially voted down by city officials, Winton made it clear he didn’t believe Walmart’s “image” was suitable for the project, the Herald reported.
The location was later designated for a JCPenney, but that store never materialized.
While Walmart is dealing with zoning problems in Miami, the company has also faced scrutiny in Washington, DC where it is opposing a “living wage” proposal that would force retailers to pay employees $12.50 per hour, well above the minimum wage.
Critics have targeted Walmart in the past for employees being paid low wages, despite the company enjoying massive profits.