Kaid Benfield Archive


Eden Prairie’s new plan irks Walmart

Kaid Benfield

Posted January 22, 2009 at 3:27PM

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Reluctantly leaving inaugural bliss to return to real life, I ask: Is Walmart now a NIMBY?  Judging by the iconic retailer's reaction to the plan for a new town center in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, maybe so. 

Eden Prairie's Walmart (by: Craig Chen, cxreative commons license)According to a story written by Laurie Blake in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, the city wants to build a walkable, 100-acre new downtown featuring small businesses and apartments above stores, all in and around a current sprawling commercial strip that includes a Walmart, a bowling alley and a "process management" company, among other enterprises.  Walmart may stay, say the planners, along as its store stays in its current size.  Even better, according to community development director Janet Jeremiah, would be for the big-box chain to redevelop its parcel more compactly.  "We believe it is possible to do a two-story Wal-Mart and still have the parking and still have room for additional development," Jeremiah told Blake.

Nothing doing, says Walmart, which has asked the city to re-do its plan and leave the Walmart site out of it.  Go here for the story.

even the Eden Prairie library looks like a big box store (by: Ryner12/Julia, creative commons license)Intriguingly, this story surfaces just as a new headline from Saint Consulting proclaims that "NIMBY dislike of Wal-Mart drops."  But not so fast, say I.  A look at the actual numbers in the survey show that 56 percent of respondents indicated they would disfavor a Walmart in their communities, a proportion of opposition topped only by landfills, casinos, and quarries.  By a slim margin, a greater portion of respondents would oppose a Walmart than would oppose a power plant, while residents would actually favor offices, homes, and other kinds of retail.