Urban Design Board denies Walmart's plan for Midtown

Walmart hopes to build store between NE 31st Street, 29th Street

MIAMI - The city of Miami's urban design board rejected Walmart's latest plans for a store in Midtown on Wednesday.

People living in Miami's Midtown neighborhood said Walmart's plans for a store between Northeast 31st Street and 29th Street don't fit the city's original plans for the area.

"We think that this is a very important step towards forcing Walmart to right sizing their plan if they're interested in entering the Midtown Miami area," said Grant Stern.

Stern believes the urban design board has been giving Walmart special treatment. Stern spoke at the meeting, which wasn't a public hearing.

"Unfortunately, this board is really a public meeting. We don't have the authority to call it a public hearing," said Neil Hall, chairman of the urban design board.

Hall said residents will have a chance to speak at a public hearing if the city commission okays Walmart's plans to build.

Opponents to Walmart's current design said they could be swayed, but would prefer their neighborhood being known for art instead of big-box retailers.

"What they have now is simply too large for that site," said Peter Ehrlich.

Walmart issued a statement Wednesday saying it would continue working with the neighborhood as it works on plans for a store.

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