Arvada: Residents discuss Wal-Mart proposal

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is interested in building a superstore at the current Arvada Plaza.

The city has been working on redeveloping this area at 58th Avenue and Independence Street for 10 years.

Wal-Mart, developer Industrial Realty Group and the city hosted a public meeting Jan. 16 about the possible development and began what will most likely be a long public, quasi-judicial process to build the store.

“We’re very early in this process, so there will be a lot of opportunities for (residents) to provide feedback,” said Josh Phair, the director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for the Mountain Division of Wal-Mart Corporation. “We really want to make sure this is a store of the community and for the community.”

Wal-Mart has yet to file an application with the city. Once the application is received, there will be public hearings with the Planning Commission and Arvada City Council before a decision is made.

The store’s initial plans outlined a smaller store, but still provided all of the amenities of a larger Walmart store, including full groceries, general merchandise, a garden area and auto center.

Typically Walmart Supercenters are at least 200,000 square feet; initial plans have this store at about 136,000 square feet.

Phair addressed two common concerns regarding new Walmart stores — traffic from delivery trucks and issues surrounding 24-hour stores.

“We anticipate for a store like this to average about a little less than two trucks per day,” Phair said. “These aren’t stores that generate truck after truck after truck. We have a pretty sophisticated logistic system that lets us customize each truck to its store.”

Supercenters are typically 24-hours, but Phair said he does not yet know if the proposed store would be.

“We will have state of the art, low profile LED lights in the parking lot,” he said. “We found in working with law enforcement that a dark parking lot in the middle of night what a real hardened criminal looks for. A busy, lit parking lot, they wouldn’t like that so much.”

Residents had mixed views on the possibility of a Walmart coming to town.

“For me, it’s not ‘Walmart is coming,’ it’s that jobs and development is coming,” said resident John Bodnar. “The name of the business is inconsequential. I’m not a Wal-Mart shopper, I tend not to support them at any of their stores, but I feel we need some sort of development here.”

Resident Jennifer Wedgle is opposed to the project.

“I just don’t want a Walmart here,” she said. “Anything but a Walmart. I just worry about how many people are losing really, really good jobs and their livelihood and something they’ve worked their entire lives for to a big corporation that doesn’t care about the community or have an interest in trying to assimilate into it besides selling goods specific to the demographics of the area.”

During the Arvada Chamber of Commerce’s third Friday Legislative Breakfast Jan. 18, Chamber board member Steve Cumins announced the chamber is in support of developing Arvada Plaza.

For up-to-date information on the redevelopment of the Arvada Plaza and the whole Arvada Triangle, visit www.ArvadaTriangle.org.