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Second Manchester Walmart Location Approved

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-1 Monday, Jan. 7 2013 to approve a new 158,430-square foot Walmart supercenter on Spencer Street.

Manchester will soon have two Walmarts. After debating the proposal for months, the town's Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-1 Monday to approve a special exemption that will allow Walmart to on Spencer Street. 

The new store, located at 205 Spencer Street, will be built on the site of the former Kmart near the East Hartford townline. Although Walmart's proposal was unpopular with many in the community who objected to a second Walmart in town and said it would harm local businesses, members of the commission said that as an applicant Walmart's proposal appeared to meet all the necessary criteria for a special exemption and there was nothing they could do to deny them the permit. Although the new Walmart will be built on the site of a former large retail store and is located in a commercial zone, it required a special exemption from the PZC based on its size and the number of parking spaces needed. 

"Our job is not to control the market forces, our job is to try to adhere to the plan of conversation and development," said Joseph Diminico, chairman of the planning and zoning commission. 

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The former Kmart building had been vacant for years before the current owner, Gatewa Lauren Inc., demolished it in late 2012. Walmart has an agreement to purchase the 20.8 acre property from Gateway Lauren Inc. and construct a new 158,430 square foot building on the property. Its application states that the Pep Boys and Ocean State Job Lot that currently occupy the same plaza on Spencer Street would remain as tenants. If approved, it would be Walmart's second location in Manchester, as the retail giant currently has a store located at 420 Buckland Hills Dr. near the Shoppes at Buckland Hills mall that is in the process of being expanded into a supercenter itself. 

"The redevelopment of that parcel is a very good benefit to the area," said commission Michael Stebe, who conceded that traffic in the area was "going to be a bear" with the new Walmart in place. But Stebe said he thought the benefits Walmart would bring to the Spencer Street area of town far outweighed the negatives. 

"Having that parcel grow again will help everybody else around it grow and attract more developers," he said. 

Eric Prause was the only member of the commission who opposed the development. Prause said he thought Walmart's proposal was just too big for the area, and noted that it was almost 40,000-square feet more of retail space in the same location than Kmart brought to the area when it was still in business. 

"I support the redevelopment there, but once you start exceeding what was there before I question whether this is the right use?" Prause said. 

Walmart has not indicated when it plans to break ground on the new Spencer Street location or when it could open. 

Joel Mrosek January 16, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Below is a link to an article about WalMart's committment to hiring veterans. In the article, Billy Simon, MHS '77, is quoted. Billy grew up on Glenwood St and had 2 brothers, (Mickey and Marty) and a sister (Renee) Don't let anyone say the schools in Manchester aren't very good. Work hard and a Manchester education can make you President and CEO of WalMart. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/wal-mart-hire-vets-buy-190409052.html
James Bond January 16, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Another attack posted by Joel, out of step with the world,linked to others out of step.Man you must be lonely.Go on you tube and check out the video,Is Wal-Mart Good for America? Not your kind of choir so I know you'll skip it.
scott January 21, 2013 at 01:53 AM
We don't need another wallmart in this town,let the people go over to the mall and shop.shoprite has been there forever that's were I will continue to go.keep wallmart out!
Jeffingraham March 08, 2013 at 08:01 PM
First off, Shoprite location in Manchester is a dump! The store needs a major overhaul! They opened up a second location in East Hartford that is also close by and that store is much cleaner. Walmart is a business. It is additional revenue in Manchester. They have expanded so many locations throughout the state that I highly doubt traffic is going to be a problem. It was never an issue when Kmart was there. People should be more concerned about the foul odor that the dump and sewage treatment plant nearby is emitting. You can complain all you want. Look at Sonic and the way people were bitchin about the traffic that would bring. That traffic is no longer an issue. People should stop complaining so much and worry more about what our government is doing to our country than Walmart.
Edie March 10, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Sorry but the traffice around Sonic is still an issue. It is a mess over that way but the whole area near the mall is awful. And if your the poor person that comes in from out of town you can't find anything since signs are almost non existent, especially if you want to go to the theaters. Extremly poor, poor, planning by the Town of Manchester.

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