NORTH LAUDERDALE - Wal-Mart has shelved its plans to build a Supercenter on an old U-Pick farm, delaying city plans for a destination mall for at least a year.
The 43-acre Town Center was supposed to feature a 207,204-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter in a new commercial district on the south side of McNab Road, a working farm until 1998. The plan also called for an 80-room hotel, restaurants and 36,000 square feet of additional shopping, according to the city.
But the city and Wal-Mart have been at odds over which should come first: the Wal-Mart, or the surrounding retailers.
Further complicating the conflict, city officials refused to approve the tenants that Wal-Mart sought for the center. Wal-Mart development officials told commissioners last year the city could not attract desirable names such as Morton's Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Houston's or Ann Taylor and City Manager Richard Sala would not approve the businesses they could deliver. Those businesses have not been identified.Now, Wal-Mart has decided to just sit back and wait until next year to "re-evaluate our position," said company spokeswoman Michelle Azel Belaire. "We're just not looking to do a new store at this point in time."
If officials think that those stores will fit well into North Lauderdale, they are dreaming. This is a city that is mostly lower middle class. You either are buying a home here as you are moving up or you are living in the many senior homes retiring. Its not a place to have a Bonefish or Ann Taylor. The need for a supercenter is questionable anyway considering the location of N.Laud is within short driving distance of every major shopping center in the North Broward.
If officials want to be more upscale and grow like Sunrise did to the West, they need to tighten up on zoning laws, cut the amount of check cashing and podunk 7-11 like stores to attract an upscale crowd.