Tempe’s top elected officials told Wal-Mart it’s not welcome at the spot the retail giant wants to open a Supercenter.
The City Council unanimously agreed Thursday that Wal-Mart isn’t a good fit in a Mervyn’s building that it recently bought at Rural Road and Southern Avenue.
But the city can’t stop Wal-Mart — and the company told the city it’s moving ahead despite Tempe’s objections.
The vote against Wal-Mart was a resolution that carries no legal weight. Wal-Mart can legally go into the old Mervyn’s store because the site is already zoned for retail. Cities have the authority to establish zoning — but private property rights prevent them from deciding one company can use that zoning while another business cannot.
Wal-Mart announced its Supercenter plans in April and quickly triggered a flood of complaints to City Hall from the surrounding neighborhood. Homeowners objected to having a 24-hour store so close to homes and a library and museum across the street.
Wal-Mart plans to move in without expanding the 86,000-square-foot store, though Supercenters can be larger than 200,000 square feet. Wal-Mart has said neighbors wouldn’t object to the store if they realized it would be much smaller than a typical Supercenter and draw far fewer customers.
The company plans to open the store next summer.