Ontario, California has a prolonged issue about should a Super Wal-Mart be built on the parcel of Fifth and Mountain. Wal-Mart bought this parcel over five years ago to replace Food 4 Less and Target which left due to their landlord getting the big money from Wal-Mart.
A group of residents have filed lawsuits and demonstrated vocally against the project complaining that the project will create blight, increase traffic and depress local businesses. Unfortunately most of the city council has been bought off by Wal-Mart where Councilman Wapner is a paid adviser for the company.
Ontario is lucky compared to its neighbors when it comes to sales tax revenue, but with a declining economy many of the neighbors believe that Wal-Mart will depress the small businesses that lurk on the Ontario Plaza and the 6th street and Mountain shopping centers. While the city council and planning commission believe that a bigger Wal-Mart will be a salvation.
Right now, shopping centers are becoming vacant and increasingly hard to find tenants who want to build in. Over the freeway overpass in Upland, the Mountain Green Shopping Center lost Mervyns, a San Sai restaurant, a tanning salon, a postal and copy store. While the shopping center across the street is basically 60% vacant and has not recovered since Pavilions shut down after the Supermarket strike.
I am not entirely against a Super Wal-Mart. However the problem is they need to build in the right neighborhood. Due to the housing market going bust, people want to make sure their homes around the neighborhood still have value. People are afraid that their homes are going to be devalued because of the project. However, if someone has access to MLS for research purposes maybe we could find out if property values actually were stable or depressed.
I went to Super Wal-Mart in Las Vegas and was impressed by the operation. Yes, it will bring savings and jobs. However many people are fearful that Albertsons (Super Valu) is going to end up shuttering down because of their high prices. It would be great to have a closer Wal-Mart. However maybe we should of had a referendum from the people in the neighborhood in a 3 mile radius to decide if the project should of happened like other cities in the region and maybe that will finally help get that project situated or shuttered.
Also, if we do not want to cannibalize union jobs with Albertsons. Perhaps we could get Fry’s to come to Ontario!