The latest attempt to derail Walmart’s plans for a superstore in Midtown Miami was denied on Thursday, likely clearing the way for development.
The Third District Court of Appeal late Thursday denied a neighborhood group’s appeal to block development of the 203,000-square-foot store on North Miami Avenue. The group pledges that its fight will continue.
Adriana Reyes, director of public affairs and government relations for Wal-Mart Stores, said in a statement that “Walmart looks forward to working with our neighbors as construction progresses, store hiring begins and we prepare to open our doors.”
Critics of the proposed Walmart have argued that it will create traffic congestion in the neighborhood, and cut Midtown off from Wynwood.
Grant Stern, spokesperson for NoWalmartMidtown.com, said Walmart has “cheated all along and cut corners” with its master plan for the property. “If Walmart followed all of the rules, there would be nothing we could do to stop them,” he said.
As part of the three-judge panel ruling, the city of Miami and Wal-Mart Stores’ request for sanctions was denied.
“We are considering several different options in state court and other administrative avenues,” Stern told The Real Deal. “The fight against Walmart continues. It took them four years to overcome the very first hurdle to build this store.”
Construction on the Midtown store has begun, according to a spokesperson.
Last year, a group of residents sued the city for granting a permit with variances on loading berths. In October 2014, a three-judge panel ruled that the city approved five berths, which is above the allowed limit of three, and sent it back to the city for reconsideration. Walmart submitted corrected plans, which the city approved. The residents later appealed the decision, but lost in August.
Walmart paid $8.2 million for the 4.6-acre site at 3055 North Miami Avenue in January 2014.