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Walmart pulls out of Denver redevelopment project

By: Marika Lorraine

DENVER — After several heated meetings where residents near E. 9th Ave. and Colorado Blvd were very vocal about their displeasure with a proposed Walmart in the area, Tuesday was a different story.

Cheers filled a room at Palmer Elementary School where residents gathered for a meeting in which Mayor Hancock confirmed the store withdrew from consideration for the site.

Walmart released this statement:

“While Walmart will not be part of the planned redevelopment of the former University of Colorado Health Sciences campus, we will continue to evaluate other opportunities to serve Denver area customers and expand access to affordable groceries.

We are proud to operate dozens of stores in the metro area, including several in the City and County of Denver. Our reputation as a good employer and valued retailer is supported by the fact that everyday thousands of local residents choose to work at Walmart and every week hundreds of thousands of customers shop our Denver area stores. We appreciate their vote of confidence and remain committed to working with the City and County of Denver and local communities to help create jobs, spur business development, and help residents save money.”

The developer, Jeff Fuqua, Principal of Fuqua Development says, “Walmart worked diligently to enhance this premier project, exceeding the requirements of the design plan and creating an exciting neighborhood concept store. While we would have preferred to continue with Walmart as one of our lead retailers, we are moving full speed ahead with restructuring our retail and financing plans to move the development forward.”

Councilwoman Jeanne Robb has not supported the plan with Walmart and says, “I was always worried after I heard the proposal for Walmart because I had a pretty good sense that this was an arranged marriage that wasn’t going to work. If the former was an arranged marriage, now we’re looking for a better match.”

Jed and Lisa Fritz have “No Walmart” signs all throughout their neighborhood. Jed says, “That’s good news.” And Lisa agrees saying, “We’re excited. I think it’s good news and I think a lot of people are against it so it’s good that they heard the people.”

The neighborhood group formerly called Stop Walmart Colorado indicated it had changed its name to “Do It Right at 9th” Tuesday.

“We couldn’t be more pleased.  We are proud of the role played by concerned neighbors in communicating to City Council representatives that Walmart was not the right way to go at 9th and Colorado.  It is a real victory for ‘the little guy,'” says group spokesperson Pat Madsen.