Wal-Mart wants to build a Sam’s Club warehouse store next to the Supercenter that Mesa voters overwhelmingly approved in 2002.
The Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in 2004 at the southeast corner of McKellips and Greenfield roads, and anchors a shopping center with numerous stores and fast-food restaurants.
Now, the Arkansas-based retailer wants to build a similar strip mall around one of its membership-based Sam’s Club stores on 33 mostly vacant acres just to the east. The southern end of the property is fenced and serves as an unpaved storage lot for recreational vehicles and travel trailers.
Falcon Field Municipal Airport is across the road.
City Councilman Rex Griswold, who represents northeast Mesa, hasn’t received any calls from constituents for or against the proposal, probably because the store would be an improvement over what’s there now, he said. He added that the Wal-Mart store hasn’t spawned the level of crime or traffic problems some neighbors had feared.
"It’s probably more dangerous now than it would be as a clean, new Sam’s Club store," he said. "We’re getting something better than what we’ve got."
The zoning case is scheduled to go to the city Planning and Zoning Board at its July 21 meeting, and is expected to reach the City Council for a final vote in September.
Bill Toon, a member of the homeowners association board for the Villa Sendero neighborhood at Brown and Greenfield roads, said he’s not aware of any increase in crime tied to the Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Traffic on Greenfield has increased, though not all of it may be related to the store, he said.
The association board hasn’t yet discussed the Sam’s Club case. Toon said he still thinks the big Wal-Mart stores should be built closer to freeways than the two miles that the Superstore sits from Loop 202.
"It just seems like a lot of ‘big-box’ stores within a landlocked area," he said.
The Sam’s Club would cover about 135,000 square feet, as opposed to the Supercenter’s 200,000 square feet. The site plan also includes a Wal-Mart-run gas station and five smaller spaces for stores or restaurants.