Walmart’s Ventura Plan Down To “Minor Details”

Walmart Stores Inc.’s plans to open a store at a former Kmart on Victoria Avenue in Ventura have only “minor details” left to iron out to win final approvals, city officials said.

A city design review committee generally viewed the revised plans favorably last week, all but assuring the world’s largest retailer it will gain approvals this year to renovate a string of shuttered buildings that used to house Kmart, Office World, European Style Home Store and the House of Spirits.

“It’s really only minor details at this point,” Glenda Goldstone, committee vice chairwoman, said in an interview.

The proposed 98,000-square-foot Walmart store could provide an additional 300 jobs, pushing the company’s local employment total over 1,500 people, company officials said.

Walmart also operates stores in Oxnard and Simi Valley and a Sam’s Club in Oxnard.

The Ventura outlet would sell clothing, electronics, grocery items and alcohol for off-site consumption, according to the company’s proposal.

The renovation calls for relocating interior walls, moving the front entrance, reconfiguring the parking lot and adding a new facade along the entire building, which Walmart controls.

Committee members were generally pleased with the building’s look and changes to enhance the parking lot circulation, but suggested adding some landscaping, particularly tree wells near an existing Trader Joe’s in the same shopping center, and facade enhancements.

“The DRC acknowledged they did a good job in following most of the DRC’s previous directions,” city planner Iain Holt said Tuesday.

It’s now up to Walmart on its timeline to submit plans that reflect the committee’s latest suggestions. Those plans are expected to win final approval at that time if the committee is satisfied with the revisions, Holt and Goldstone said.

A company spokesman could not be reached.

Because it’s a reuse project and the proposed Walmart is similar in nature to a Kmart, no traffic analysis is required. The city also cannot require the retailer to pay for circulation improvements at the main entrance at Victoria Avenue and Avocet Drive, despite public concerns over left turns when exiting the shopping center.

Walmart’s desire to take over the former Kmart space prompted grocery worker unions and others to put a measure on the 2009 November ballot to ban any new store selling groceries from being larger than 90,000 square feet. But the measure failed, receiving 46 percent of the vote.

In March, Walmart unveiled an expanded Oxnard store, opened in 1993. The 30,000-square-foot expansion and remodeling increased the store’s overall size to 176,700 square feet, making it the county’s first Walmart “super store,” store manager Francisco Medina said.

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Posted by on Jul 3 2010. Filed under Press Releases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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