City Doubts It Can Provide Site for Wal-Mart Supercenter

City Doubts It Can Provide Site for Wal-Mart Supercenter

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- City officials do not expect to be able to deliver a 22-acre downtown site for a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The Ogden Redevelopment Agency has options to purchase a majority of the 98 parcels needed to build the store, but some property owners have refused to sell.

"We are not in a position to deliver the preferred site to Wal-Mart," said Richard McConkie, the city's deputy director of community and economic development. "Being able to develop the site is very questionable."

It appears the RDA will be unable to exercise its purchase options by the Nov. 15 deadline with those property owners who are willing to sell, McConkie said.

However, Wal-Mart could still move ahead with the project if it is able to assemble the parcels on its own, he said.

Wal-Mart has not considered acquiring land on its own, said John Petrovich, a Wal-Mart real estate manager.

Cris Rodriguez, who has refused to sell her home for the project, said she was pleased the store apparently will not be built in her neighborhood.

"It makes me feel great," she said. "I never wanted to move."

Amy Butters, an Ogden attorney who represents 10 property owners who have refused to sell, said blocking the project was a tremendous victory.

"It's an example of what the little person can do when they band together," she said. "It warms my heart that they won't have this looming over their heads any longer."

The Wal-Mart project was dealt a major blow earlier this year when the Legislature enacted a measure than prohibits RDAs from using eminent domain redevelop areas for economic development.

"It pulled the rug out from under us," McConkie said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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