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SALT LAKE CITY -- An old proposal for a Walmart on Salt Lake's east bench has new life. The retail giant has revamped its plans for a reduced-sized superstore on Parley's Way, but some neighbors aren't sure it's a good idea.
The issue has been a hot one on Salt Lake's east bench for several years now. The new wrinkle: should Walmart remodel an existing building or be allowed to tear it down and build a new one? Walmart prefers the second option but would need to get a zoning change from the city to do it.
The retail giant already has a building permit to renovate the 40-year-old former Kmart store on Parleys Way. That permit expires in January. Walmart prefers demolition to renovation, replacing the old building with a new smaller, more efficient 92,000 square foot superstore.
Walmart public affairs and government relations senior manager Delia Garcia said, "A new store will also allow us to do some new energy efficiencies with the building. So being able to put in sky lights and make it more bright in the building, which is something we wouldn't be able to do under the remodel scenario. Or being able to actually make it a smaller building and fit better on the site."
The Sugarhouse Community Council voted to oppose the tear down/rebuild idea.
Cabot Nelson, chair of the Sugarhouse Community Council, said, "A lot of the concerns that a lot of the neighbors had was to ensure that in the future, even beyond whatever Walmart could create there, that the zoning will stay the same, making sure that smaller businesses could move into the area."
In the meantime, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker has not taken a position, wanting to see what happens in the community councils and planning commission.
The next stop for this issue is the planning commission in February. Walmart hopes to win approval by June of next year. If it does, the new store could open in 2012.