Walmart_on_620_2

submitted by Tom Linehan [Email address: tlinehan #AT# austin.rr.com - replace #AT# with @ ]

I posted a link to Wal-Mart/Lincoln’s proposed Term Sheet on Saturday. The Term Sheet is in response to the issues Allandale and the other nearby neighborhoods and RG4N submitted to Lincoln and Wal-Mart through the City back in January.

The Term Sheet is consistent with what Lincoln and Wal-Mart told the
representatives from the affected neighborhoods at the Wednesday, 2/21
meeting at Armbrust & Brown. It addresses a number of the issues we
submitted
, but did not get to the one that underlies all of the issues
– the size of the supercenter. It’s still a 200,000 plus square foot
retail store. The above photo is what the 200,000 plus square foot
Wal-Mart looks like on 620. 

It looks like a mall but it’s actually a
single store. The design of the one planned for Northcross is different
but the photo shows the size of the store intended for
Northcross.

Our initial reaction is we don’t have enough information to properly
evaluate the proposed terms. Our biggest concern is traffic. In spite
of the City’s approval of the TIA, we know the supercenter is going to
draw traffic from all over and we believe it will bring our streets,
specifically Burnet and Anderson, to failure.  What we know is the TIA
submitted to the City shows vehicle trips per day will triple.
Intuitively one would think tripling traffic is
going to translate into a big problem for two already crowded roads. Given that the Term Sheet proposes adding a new
double left turn lane at the corner of Anderson and Burnet says
Lincoln/Wal-Mart and another stop light on Anderson tells me they
agree. Is that enough to mitigate the traffic problems? We can’t say
until we have the data. We’re having the TIA reviewed.

The second concern we have with what’s proposed is the following caveat that prefaces the terms:

"the adoption of most of the traffic and access-related proposals are
subject to the feasibility determinations described in this term sheet,
and further will require the approval and consent of not only the City
from a regulatory standpoint, but also from private landowners and
other third parties whose access or other legal rights under existing
leases or agreements stand to be affected by the implementation of
those proposals."

Requiring drivers to take a circuitous route into the mall coming in on
Foster Lane is a good thing. We just don’t know that Lincoln/Wal-Mart
can make that happen.

We expressed concern about truck traffic in our issue list and Wal-Mart
is telling us they will restrict Wal-Mart’s 18-wheeler truck routes to
use a specific delivery route. That’s good. Too bad they can’t require
all trucks deliverying to the store – half of all the deliveries –  to
use the same routes. I recognize Wal-Mart can’t control the routes
other trucks take. This is just the price we pay for having the
convenience of a Supercenter nearby. I’ve said before, this store
belongs along a highway.

Closing from 1 to 5 a.m. gets to our concern about a 24/7 operation,
however they have left themselves a bit of leeway with "the option of
offering extended hours for seasonal events, such as sales tax holiday
weekends and during the months of November, December and January." We
need clarification on whether that means for 3 months out of the year
they’ll stay open 24/7.

The last item of concern with the Term Sheet is the issue of local businesses. I appreciate them addressing this, but there’s not really much Lincoln or Wal-Mart can do foster local business in the area. Granted Lincoln will be keeping the local businesses that are currently in the mall but there’s not much they can do to get other local businesses interested in locating next to a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Chipolte and Walgreens are not local businesses.

After talking it over with a few of the other ANA EC members this is our initial reaction to the proposed Term Sheet. We need more information before fully responding. I welcome your thoughts.