Wal-Mart again attempting to build in Zionsville

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has filed new plans to build a store along Michigan Road in Zionsville, six years after the town rebuffed its original proposal that drew the ire of local residents and merchants.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer wants to build a roughly 150,000-square-foot store on about 23 acres along Michigan Road and 106th Street straddling the Boone-Hamilton county line.

Wal-Mart owns the property, which is the same parcel the company attempted to build on in 2006.

Then, Michigan developer Heritage RDG LLC proposed a much larger 300,000-square-foot shopping center anchored by a Walmart Supercenter along Michigan Road north of 106th Street.

Heritage attempted to rezone the property, which the Zionsville Town Council denied. The developer altered the plans to avoid a rezoning, prompting councilors to pass an ordinance limiting the size of a free-standing retail building to 60,000 square feet.

Because Wal-Mart’s current plans call for a store more than twice that size, a variance would be needed, said Wayne DeLong, Zionsville’s director of planning and economic development.

The Zionsville Plan Commission is set to consider the proposal at its Oct. 15 meeting, which should draw plenty of interest from local residents.

“Any project of this size is going to intrigue folks that are near and in proximity to the project,” DeLong said. “I can’t say if there will be more or less interest than before. I would certainly think there would be some interest given the history.”

DeLong is unsure how long it might take for Wal-Mart to receive approval, if a variance is granted.

Meanwhile, approval of Wal-Mart’s proposal could end a long-running dispute between the company and the town that led to two lawsuits.

The latest, filed by Wal-Mart in June 2008, is still pending in Boone Superior Court and charges that the commission had no legal basis to deny the store.

Several residents and merchants voiced their displeasure with the proposed store, charging that it would hurt the charm and small-town feel of the historic village.

But judging from the current plans submitted by Wal-Mart, which depict a brick façade and plenty of landscaping, Julie Johns Cole, executive director of the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, said her organization might be more receptive to the project.

“Overall, our feelings are very positive,” she said. “The residents would benefit from the commercial investment and from competition on groceries and retail items.”

Joe Calderon, a partner at Indianapolis law firm Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, is representing Wal-Mart. He could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.

Wal-Mart’s nearest store to the proposed site is about two miles south, on 86th Street just east of Michigan Road.

The site would position Wal-Mart near its main rival, SuperTarget, southeast of 106th Street and Michigan Road.


  • Clean up 86th street and Michigan Road
    Wal-mart needs to educate their employees on customer service, clean up existing business and high enough staff to handle the business. I have stood in the store over an hour waiting to get groceries. I would go to the new store if there is one and others will follow leaving the current store as another empty big box in our community.
    I was at the Greenwood City Council meeting when Walmart got approval here. I followed them out, they were laughing and snickering. Few of the tree in the promised "heavily treed" parking lot remain. Blight.
  • Walmart will not benefit schools
    The Walmart is in the TIF area. Therefore none, or at most very little of the tax revenues the Town Council promises, will go to the schools until the TIF expires in 2028.
  • Clean up old Walmart ghetto stores first.
    Walmart allows their old stores to deteriorate and degrade. They don't value cleanliness in their old stores or bathrooms. They don't value quality products, because they've cheapened every items down to it's cheap & throw away stature. Aren't our landfilled overflowing & who needs more stuff in their homes?
  • deja vu
    Sounds to me like the public relations people are posting again. Look, the fact is, if that property is given a variance, all the land west (and possibly east) along the border of Michigan road is up for commercial grabs. Then, any residential property near or around there, will be surrounded and encroached on just like Carmel west of Meridian is now. I am sure the Pittman family is ecstatic about this zoning variance, as this gives them the opportunity to ask for the same up to 116th in the future. Then, the commercial property will not be so far away from the center of town, or the park, etc. Oh, and THEN they will need to expand and widen the road to handle the traffic. Deja vu all over again.
  • Progress?
    Jack - I can't stand shopping at Wal-Mart, so my bias causes me to wonder whether bringing Wal-Mart to town is "progress." But you raise a valid point -- A Wal-Mart on 421 shouldn't take away from the village feel of Zionsville. Besides, I doubt those inclined to shop in Zionsville village are the type to shop at Wal-Mart, and vice-versa. As others have noted, Zionsville is missing out on the commercial property tax revenue being collected by Carmel and Whitestown. That alone may force Zionsville to capitulate this time.
  • Small Town?
    They are talking about building the Wal-Mart in the middle of a commercial corridor. How is that going to hurt the small town feel of Zionsville? They're not going to build it on main street. Time for the old guard in Zville to realize that progress is good.
    • Need Grocery Stores!
      Zionsville has a major lack of options for grocery shopping. Currently, you have a serious lack of options for the number of people who live in the area. You have Marsh, or Marsh! They are overpriced! Bring in WalMart, Meijer, or at least a Kroger
    • its the plan
      Wal-marts plan is to have an opportunity to purchase from a wal mart company every 7 miles. The prices are right the goods are chinese like everywhere else, i still would rather go to an independent store. are there any left?
    • Don't miss the chance
      If Zionsville has any brains, they'll welcome Wal Mart into the Michigan Road corridor along with the other businesses that will follow. It is a commercial corridor full of other businesses. The only differences is that those existing businesses send their tax dollars to Carmel. Zionsville missed a similar opportunity on the West side when they let Whitestown annex all of the tax laden Anson area. Don't be fools a third time!
    • Wal-mart knows best
      It's amazing how many anti-business, anti-capitalism people read a business publication. I think Wal-mart is perfectly capable of deciding how many stores they "need" in a 5 mile radium. They wouldn't build if they couldn't make money. Also, in this Obama economy there's a lot of demand for these Wal-Marts...
    • really?
      tell your elected officals NO.if they approve it vote them out.yes,wal-mart wants no competitors.just like,CVS,WALGREEN AND SPEEDWAY!REALLY HOW MANY STORES DO THEY NEED IN FIVE SQUARE MILES?
    • Hope they come to town
      We should want them here....they would likely be the biggest source of tax income in the town. They might not have needed the referendum for the schools if they had been allowed to build 5 years ago. They won't hurt the village in the least...despite what some people keep saying. That Walmart will do no more damage to ZVille than the Target, Kohls, Home Depot and Best Buy on Michigan Rd did.
      • NO to Zionsville Walmart
        One thing you can say about Walmart is that they sure don't get it when a town says "We don't want you here!" Walmarts anywhere rack up a marked increase in fire and police runs. Crime goes up in their immediate area. And the wages they pay will attract nobody from Zionsville. We don't want them here but Walmart persists in thinking they should be in Zionsville. Let the battle begin again.
        • 2 miles away ?
          Why does WalMart insist on another store 2 miles from itself?? Someday is every retail location on earth going to be a WalMart?
        • Local small business
          Another Walmart in a small town will lead to more local local businesses being driven out. Is that progress? I think not.
        • Walmart in CG?
          From what I've heard, the WalMart is trying to get into Bargersville, south of Whiteland Road off of 135. If you're talking about the lot south of Home Depot, it'd be an awfully small Wal Mart (it'd have to be smaller than the Home Depot, and have less parking, to fit onto that site), right across the street from a Super Target.
        • Domino
          They will get their zoning, as there are many PAC's and developers set to benefit from this. It will be a domino effect, exactly like what is happening in Carmel. First WalMart, then owners of land north, will use that as an excuse they should get the same zoning. Doesn't matter there is plenty of vacant commercially zoned property to the west and south. Any bare land in Zionsville is in danger, especially along Michigan road and Zionsville road.
        • Store Closing?
          I wonder if this means that they would close the location at 86th and Michigan Road? South of 86th Street, Michigan Road is already littered with stores that have closed and moved a few blocks north...
        • WalMart in Center Grove
          there not their
        • WalMart in Center Grove
          IBJ - look into details about a new Wal Mart in the Center Grove area. SR 135 south of Smith Valley; next to Home Depot. They are not wanted their either, but they snuck in.

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