Friday, April 14, 2006

Discount City: Wal-Mart May Come to the City of St. Louis?

Discount City: Wal-Mart May Come to the City of St. Louis?

I'm surprised other local bloggers haven't picked up on this one yet:

St. Louis American 04/13/06: "Wal-Mart to target urban cores: St. Louis could be selected."

This is a follow-up story to the "Wal-Mart Jobs and Opportunity Zones" initiative announced by the #1 retailer on April 4th on the West Side of Chicago, where the first such store will open this summer.

Given that the American always has a Wal-Mart ad insert, this article was pretty even-handed. It was clear that Schnucks, Shop N Save, and the UFCW are not too happy about this idea.

Meanwhile, I wonder what the community-wide response will be.

Will something like the Southtown Coalition coalesce if a site is proposed on the Southside or (heaven forbid) in the central corridor?

But what if a Northside site is proposed? Would there be any significant opposition? After all, Schnucks now only has two stores in the city limits north of Delmar: relatively new City Plaza at Union & Natural Bridge; and Grand & Kossuth, one of their smaller, older structures dating to the 1960s (originally a Kroger I think?), and which closes every day by 9 PM.

Shop N Save and Dierbergs have zero stores in North City. Yes, Save-A-Lot and Aldi have invested in new stores there in recent years, but those are much smaller, limited-product-line operations. They can't compare with a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The City of St. Louis is now practically surrounded by Wal-Mart. They have stores in adjacent parts of Illinois (Granite City and the Village of Cahokia), as well as in Maplewood, Ferguson, Kirkwood, St. Ann, and South County. All are located within the I-270/255 beltway (albeit just barely in the case of the Ferguson and South County stores).

There's also rampant speculation (at least by the Carondelet-Holly Hills Landlord Association) that Pace Properties wants to attract "either a Wal-Mart or a Target" to the old Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Co. (where my mom worked in the early 1970s as a secretary/nurse; it closed in 1998 and qualified as a brownfield) site on Weber Road in Lemay, directly across from houses located in the City of St. Louis.

Of course, there's already one Target store in the city, at the busy corner of Hampton and Chippewa. Inside 270, St. Louis County has Target stores in Brentwood, South County, Kirkwood, and Bridgeton.

Often, Target and Wal-Mart are located in close proximity to one another. In Kirkwood, they're actually in the same shopping center!

I don't know when or where Wal-Mart will announce a site in the City, but I suspect it will be sooner rather than later.

And I will be very interested to see the community response.


Urban Elitist said...

We've been having a heated conversation on this.
Urban St. Louis

Urban Review - St. Louis said...

Yeah, so far the discussion has been limited to the Urban St. Louis forums. I've got a post I'm working on.

BTW, Dierberg's has no stores in the City of St. Louis.

Michael Allen said...

My guess is that Wal-Mart will be looking at a northside location. Perhaps now that Home Depot has cold feet on the redevelopment of the Army Ammunition Plant, Wal-Mart will take their place. Or they could get into plans for the I-44/Hampton interchange area. I'd be really surprised if Wal-Mart chose a location without visibility from a major highway.