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1999-06-09
Milwaukee, WI. "Many people don't like Wal-Mart"

It came right out of the mouth of the developer. "There's just many, many people who don't like Wal-Mart," said the lawyer for JDN Realty, a prolific Wal-Mart developer, according to a story in the June 8th Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That same sentiment was echoed by south Milwaukee residents who turned out to oppose a plan to put up a 135,000 s.f. Wal-Mart discount store, with space to expand to the largest supercenter prototype of 222,000 s.f. The location chosen by JDN is the Southgate Mall, a facility originally built in 1951 as what we used to call a shopping center. It was enclosed in the 1970s, and JDN bought the property last fall. Many developers are looking for dead malls for future Wal-Marts, but often neighbors stand in the way. "My neighborhood doesn't need another Wal-Mart," said one resident. "My neighborhood needs a retail mall. It needs a retail mall as rich and as varied as the south side of Milwaukee is." For those residents addicted to Wal-Mart cheap underwear, there is already a Wal-Mart a few miles away on S 27th. St.

What you can do: When Wal-Mart builds a new supercenter, you can look for consolidation of its "older" discount stores nearby, some of which can range as large as 115,000 s.f. or more, and may be less than 10 years old. The lawyer for the developer in this case was exactly right: much of the opposition centered on the Wal-Mart name, instead of specific plans. But the Milwaukee Plan Commission voted 4-0 against the Wal-Mart plan despite JDN's plea that they "put aside whatever prejudices you may have about Wal-Mart." Although Wal-Mart got skunked by the Plan Commission, it is the Common Council that has the final decision in the case. Unless neighbors increase their numbers for the Council vote, the final vote could disappoint residents. JDN proposals for Wal-Marts have sparked bitter battles in other communities across the east coast and midwest. Now that Wal-Mart is building its new distribution center in Tomah, WI, they are anxious to put up as many supercenters as possible. The ultimate goal is the 222,000 s.f. supercenter with groceries, which is the largest supercenter Wal-Mart makes.










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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