After two years of battles between Walmart and local civic activists, the City of Miami has taken everyone by surprise and abruptly approved (Hat tip: Miami New Times) Walmart's latest plans for a 156,000 square foot store in Midtown. The actual decision can be found here. Despite plans which were just recently characterized by an architectural advisory panel as obvious violations of the zoning code, with one panel member even saying "I feel like a violin and I'm being played" those plans, well yeah, were somehow approved yesterday by city planning director Francisco Garcia. Meanwhile Walmart's opponents plan to appeal the decision and stop the store from being issued building permits.
UPDATE: Francisco Garcia sent out a press release saying the Walmart plans "comply with the zoning ordinance as approved" and that he and his team spent two years working with everybody and basically did the best job they could.
UPDATE #2: Walmart sent out this press release, in its entirety: "Today's Class II Permit approval moves us one step closer to serving our Miami customers. Our Midtown Miami store will provide residents with new job opportunities and shopping options while complimenting the existing retail corridor. We're excited to move forward."
.· Planning application decisions [City of Miami]
· City approves Walmart Midtown, opponents to appeal [Miami New Times]
· Midtown Walmart coverage [Curbed Miami]