Walmart Supercenter Makes Third Try for Approval in Face of Landslide, Shutdown of Utah Jazz

By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor Walmart is taking a third swing at obtaining approval for a new supercenter in Salt Lake City. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the initial zoning change request was rejected by the Salt Lake City Planning [...]

Walmart is taking a third swing at obtaining approval for a new supercenter in Salt Lake City. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the initial zoning change request was rejected by the Salt Lake City Planning Commission in 2008. The giant retailer had planned to build a 120,000-square-foot store and subsequently reduced the plan to 92,000 square feet in February, but the zoning change was still rejected. Depending on the outcome of the appeal to the city council, the retailer is considering moving to an abandoned 120,000-square-foot former Kmart location. According to city ordinances, only a limited remodel is permitted.

Some citizens have already started to voice their opinions on the supercenter, while others are helping raise money for the families affected by the landslides in North Salt Lake. ABC 4 News reported that the 720-foot-long landslide had engulfed five homes. Advancing at a speed of as much as two inches a week, it will result in another 24 homes, currently inhabited, being torn down, according to city official estimates. The non-profit El Nino Foundation is trying to raise money to relocate the families.

On the business front, Salt Lake City businesses built around the Utah Jazz basketball team were dealt a strong blow when the NBA announced that it had shut down the team. The decision was taken after the league owners were unable to reach an agreement with the players regarding a new collective bargaining agreement. Bob Farrington, Salt Lake City’s economic development director, estimated that 800,000 people came downtown in the past year for the Jazz games, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. One business heavily dependent on the team, the Tribune noted, is a private parking business for which the NBA games account for 60 to 70 percent of business.

Restaurants, shopping centers, clubs and many other businesses in the downtown area are likewise set to receive a massive blow unless an agreement is reached between the two parties.