Hair Balls has an update.
Walmart spokesman William Wertz told Hair Balls that Walmart is considering the expansion at this time but no plans have been approved.
“We can confirm that we are looking at this site, but discussions are preliminary, and we aren’t ready to say any more at this time,” Wetz said.
Mayor Annise Parker is also emphasizing that plans are tentative, in a statement to Hair Balls:
This is not yet a done deal. The property has been assembled for a major retail venture. When that moves forward, there will be careful review for impact on traffic, mobility and city infrastructure. I encourage Wal-Mart, or any other retailer interested in the property, to open dialogue with the Greater Heights and Washington Avenue Super Neighborhoods 15 and 22 as well as other neighborhood groups and civic clubs in that area.
You can count me as being interested to hear what the Super Neighborhoods have to say. The rest of the story has a bunch of dueling quotes about the merits of Wal-Mart and the character of the area. I’ve got to say, I dislike Wal-Mart as much as the next urban elitist, but even I find some of the concern about its construction at that location to be overblown. The site in question is basically a brownfield. It’s not like they’re looking to build on 19th Street. I’m not particularly worried about the effect a Wal-Mart there might have on Heights boutiques, I’m worried about the effect it may have on traffic in the area. I still don’t think Yale can handle the demands of having a Wal-Mart right there. It’s possible that impact can be mitigated, but I’d need to see the details, which would include that “traffic, mobility and city infrastructure” review the Mayor mentions.
Honestly, I’m not sure why this is being called a “Heights Wal-Mart”, even as I use that terminology myself in the title of this post. Technically, the Heights extends as far south as Washington, but let’s get real – nobody thinks of Yale at Center as being “the Heights”. With all due respect, it’s not “the Heights” that will be directly affected by a Wal-Mart there, it’s the Washington corridor. Has anyone asked the people who live in those apartments on Washington and Center just west of Yale, in whose back yard this thing would be, what they think?