The developers of the former University of Colorado Hospital site at Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard are proposing a Walmart to anchor the project, but they may be up against a culture war in the neighborhood.
"I've been receiving a lot of emails, and they're all very negative about Walmart, and they're all very worried about their property values," said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman.
Some neighbors seemed excited about the proposed Trader Joes that may be built across the street, but said the Walmart vibe doesnt fit their community.
We were hoping to have a little more up-market development there, said Susman. Some of the stores Walmart would attract would also be down-market. We're not sure that's how we want to have the project look.
The 35-acre site has been shuttered since the hospital moved out in 2007, but the city has approved a massive development plan, including retail, a big box store and residential.
In the past two weeks, Walmart has expressed interest in being part of the development, said developer Jeff Fuqua.
Fuqua said the proposed Walmart would be a smaller, urban design, with indoor parking and upscale features.
He also said his company has been looking for months to find a big box store interested in the project, and Walmart stepped up where no one else has.
It is very likely this project could not go forward without Walmart, said Fuqua.
Laurie Bogue, president of the Bellevue-Hale neighborhood association, is circumspect about a possible Walmart, especially since rejecting it could mean going back to the drawing board.
Im concerned, but Im trying to keep an open mind, said Bogue. "If this project were to fall through, yes, it could be another 10 years (without development), and yes, I could be concerned about that."
But, Susman said Walmart being part of the project is not a done deal. The developer needs public financing to assist with the demolition and construction, so he has to show the project is a public benefit.
The first public meeting to discuss the issue is at 4 p.m.Tuesday at Christ Church United Methodist at 690 Colorado Bvd.
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