There is a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday 6/26) at 4pm to discuss a possible Walmart at 9th and Colorado Boulevard in Denver.
I found out about this meeting while in Estes Park late last week, and as visitors from out of state overheard us discussing the issue, they shook their head, pulled me aside – told me it was a lost cause.
“You might be able to make it look better, but there is no stopping them.”
Well, in this case, we are talking about the redevelopment of the UCHSC area that was vacated for Fitzsimons because the Mayor of Denver at the time and the surrounding neighborhoods would not allow any further building in the vicinity.
We are also talking about neighborhoods full of bungalows and tudors from the 1930’s, with small yards, small streets and big traffic problems. If anyone has tried to drive on Colorado Boulevard lately – the only semi-large north/south street for miles, you know exactly what I am talking about.
In fact, the Sunflower Market that finally got approval for a vacated car dealership on Colfax and Monroe understands the fight you must put up to go into the area.
But wait, Trader Joe’s has also laid claim to the empty lot on 8th and Colorado. As much as I like Trader Joe’s, I wasn’t sure they would be able to get clearance, even given they are more of a cash and carry store.
We can’t seriously be considering a WALMART at 9th and Colorado, can we?
Apparently we are.
Or at least Atlanta-based developer Fuqua (formerly Sembler) is strongly pushing it.
The meeting tomorrow will be to “discuss further site development plans with particular focus and discussion of the potential large format retailer.”
We need your voice there.
Tuesday, June 26th at 4pm
Christ Church United Methodist
690 Colorado Blvd.
If you are on Facebook, share this event:
If you are on Twitter, use the #noDenWalmart hashtag.
As I have been pushing this issue, several people have asked why I dislike Walmart. I am honestly surprised I have to explain myself – I really thought their business practices were common knowledge. But trust me, those cheap prices come at a price.
First off, Walmart undercuts prices to drive out small business. Unfairly. Because as a huge company, they can take the hit until Mom & Pop has to shut their doors. Walmart has been sued and forced to raise their prices numerous times.
Secondly, they, as a policy, hire people for part-time just under benefits level so they do not have to pay for things like health insurance. So, a person can work 33 hours a week (for lower than average wages, I may add) and still not get medical coverage. And whose pockets does it come out of if that person gets seriously sick?
Would that be you and me, perhaps?
Is that extra few dollars off their cheap China-made products really worth that?
Then, back to the SPECIFIC issues with 9th and Colorado.
I covered traffic. Traffic is insane. But there is also the tenor of the hood.
The neighborhood held up an apartment building (directly across the street) for over a year – traffic and aesthetics reasons. The developers had to make the complex about half its original size, move parking underground, change where the exits were to not impact traffic, and match the style of the design to the neighborhood.
And they were building on an empty parking lot.
After that, someone on Twitter called me out for having a “not in my backyard” mentality.
Yes. I. Do.
I moved to East Denver for the feel of the neighborhood. If I wanted to live next to a big box retailer, I would have decided to live elsewhere. I am not knocking other neighborhoods – there is good and bad, idiosyncrasies to all places.
But this location is not about Walmart.
It is about…
The Tattered Cover.
And Under The Umbrella.
And Zorba’s Greek Cafe.
And Wildflower Market.
And Heidi’s Deli.
And my kid’s school.
And the park.
And the heart of Denver.