Sugar House area residents supporting Walmart’s efforts to rezone its property on Parley’s Way in Sugar House breathed an audible sigh of relief as Walmart confirmed plans to move forward to remodel the former K-Mart store on that property in light of the failure to secure rezoning. That process could begin as early as November 1.
Although Walmart insisted all along that it would remodel the site, some supporters feared it would sell if the rezoning efforts failed. As it turns out, the fear of closure, based on rumors perpetuated and reinforced by the opposition (the bulk of whom live in the area ‘most impacted by a potential rezone’ according to City Council Chair Jill Love), who insisted Walmart would go away if the company were unsuccessful in the rezoning request, proved to be unfounded with Walmart’s announcement this week.
Most Walmart supporters wanted a bigger store all along, since larger stores offer more selection, but went along with Walmart’s efforts to placate the rest of the community with plans for a smaller, more sustainable, energy efficient store. But there was no appeasing the opposition, which will, as taxpayers, now contribute to the expense of fixing the drainage and water detention problems associated with the property.
The remodeled store will be comparable in size to the Walmart on 900 East 4700 South, and slightly smaller than the more recent conversion of a former Walmart to a Walmart Superstore on 1300 East, just south of Fort Union Boulevard, approximately 15,000 square feet larger. Remodel plans also call for a more centrally located pharmacy and over-the-counter drug area than some of the older, less conveniently arranged superstore models with groceries on one side and pharmacy area on the other.
District 6 voters, many of whom favored the rezoning, sent a clear message to incumbent Councilman JT Martin in a three-way primary election bid on September 13 for that council seat. Martin, who voted against the rezoning, received less than a third of the total vote. One of two contenders, current Planning Commissioner Charlie Luke, the lone member of that commission to vote in favor of Walmart’s rezoning request to that body earlier this year, received 46% of the vote. The other contender, Tracey Harty, was eliminated from the November election with only 26% of the vote.
Eastside Sugar House and others can look forward to the Parley’s Way Walmart grand opening next summer.