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2004-11-19
Miami, FL. Coconut Grove Not Nuts Over Home Depot

Residents of one of Florida's most impressive villages, Coconut Grove, kicked off an organized effort this week to stop Home Depot from taking over a mall once leased by Kmart. One of 18 underperforming store leases sold by Kmart to Home Depot last June, the location is surrounded by residential homes, apartments and condominiums. The parcel is owned by Kimco Realty, and residents fear that Home Depot will try to takeover the entire mall, removing a Walgreens and the area's only grocery store. Ironically, there are already 5 Home Depots within 10 miles of this location, and the 6th. store is expected to significantly kick up the traffic congestion that already exists along Route 1, as it passes by the store. The nearest Home Depot on SW 8th. street is only two miles from the proposed site. Residents raised concerns about traffic, impact on residential values, the threat of hazardous fire, and the inappropriate location of a self-described warehouse in a light commercial zone ringed by residential properties. Big box home centers in Florida already control at least one-third of the home improvement market in Florida, but make up only 5% of the home improvement establishments. According to research presented by Sprawl-Busters, an 80,000 s.f. Home Depot in Coconut Grove could cause the loss of nearly 100 jobs, and generate at least 5,000 new car trips on a Saturday. Home Depot is willing to cannibalize as much as 30% of its own sales at nearby Home Depots just to flood the market with orange merchandise. One of the main roads adjacent to the mall is two-lane Bird Avenue. Neighbors say the project is too intense for the parcel, and will discourage shoppers from trying to get into the village mercantile area near the store. Local activist and attorney Marc Sarnoff hopes to unite several neighborhood associations to fight the Home Depot proposal, which to date has not been formally submitted to the city. Several weeks ago, commissioners in Hallandale Beach, Florida unanimously rejected a Home Depot move into a mall, arguing that a Home Depot "doesn't make a good fit in the district," according to the Miami Herald. "That's not what I picture what we want in the Diplomat Mall area," one Hallandale commissioner said. A similar sentiment prevailed at the meeting this week of the Village Center Grove Asssociation, where roughly 70 residents voted to oppose the Home Depot project.

What you can do: For local contacts in the Coconut Grove area, contact info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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