Andover continues to review Walmart proposal

The city of Andover has almost all the information it needs to review a proposal to bring a Walmart to the community.

The city of Andover is reviewing a proposed Walmart development at the former Pov’s Sports Bar site at the northwest corner of Bunker Lake Boulevard and Jay Street. Photo by Kelly Johnson

The city of Andover is reviewing a proposed Walmart development at the former Pov’s Sports Bar site at the northwest corner of Bunker Lake Boulevard and Jay Street. Photo by Kelly Johnson

The proposed Walmart would be located at the former Pov’s Sports Bar site at the northwest corner of Bunker Lake Boulevard and Jay Street. It would sell groceries with a separate area where beer stronger than 3.2 percent liquor content, wine and hard liquor would be sold, according to Community Development Director David Carlberg.

Carlberg said the city needs to see more information about what Walmart is planning regarding exterior storage.

Staff review of the application shows that Walmart will need a conditional use permit (CUP) from the city for a storage area outside the building and for the sale of alcohol, she said.

It also will need council approval of a preliminary plat for the whole site of about 20 acres.

However, staff cannot tell how big the exterior storage is or what would be in it.

Besides this, Carlberg said staff considers the application submitted by the McCombs Frank Roos Associates, Inc. consulting firm on behalf of Walmart complete enough to continue staff review and the process of getting this issue before the Andover Planning and Zoning Commission and the city council.

Carlberg said the public hearings on the preliminary plat and the CUP for outside storage are tentatively scheduled for the Tuesday, May 8 commission meeting. If the commission, which is an advisory group, makes a recommendation on Walmart’s proposal, the council would take it up at its May 15 meeting, according to Carlberg.

If the council approves the Walmart preliminary plat and outside storage request, Carlberg said staff would finalize the landscaping and site plan issues based on council direction. The building department would evaluate the floor plan of the approximately 150,000 square-foot main building. The fire department would review the building to make sure it meets fire code.

ABC Newspapers left a message with a Walmart spokesperson last week to ask questions about the proposal, but did not receive a return call before this edition went to press.

Residents organizing

A group of Andover residents concerned about Walmart developing on the former Pov’s site met for the first time March 25 and planned to meet again April 1, according to Laurie Mount, who lives near the proposed Walmart site.

According to Mount, the 10 to 15 residents who came to the March 25 meeting were from several neighborhoods, including one east of Hanson Boulevard and north of Bunker Lake Boulevard, one north of Andover High School, one east of Andover Elementary, one north and east of Oak View Middle School and one in the area of Nightingale Street and 157th Avenue.

Mount said they are planning to have some representation at council meetings leading up to mid-May to share their concerns.

Mount is concerned about whether Andover’s roads can handle the increased traffic. She wonders how Walmart would impact Festival Foods, Northgate Liquor and Target, for example. If any of these existing businesses go out of business, there would be another vacant commercial space to fill, she said.

Mount wants to know more about how the wetlands and wildlife on the property will be impacted and how this large development would impact police and fire resources.

Reviews continue

At this point, Carlberg said a lot of work is going on behind the scenes to evaluate Walmart’s preliminary plat proposal. The city engineering department is evaluating elevations and where the water will flow. The Anoka County Highway Department is reviewing Walmart’s access proposal, which would be to have the main access off Jay Street and a right-in, right-out access on Bunker Lake Boulevard.

The number of parking spaces is unknown because the county highway department may need additional right of-way for future work on Bunker Lake Boulevard, Carlberg said.

At this point, the city only sees a general configuration of where the parking spots would be, he said.

Carlberg said Walmart must meet city code requirements for parking spaces. Otherwise, the business would need to apply for a variance.

According to Carlberg, the applicant has paid regular city fees and an escrow totaling $5,085 to cover the costs of city staff review, recording the information with the county and advertising for the public hearing.

If further review is needed, Carlberg said the applicant may have to submit additional escrow.

In addition to this Andover site, Walmart is also planning to build two stores in Blaine at the former Rice Creek Gardens site on the west side of Highway 65 at 11465 Ulysses St. N.E. and at the southeast side of I-35W and Lexington Avenue.

Property taxes impact

ABC Newspapers asked Carlberg how much in property taxes a Walmart in Andover would likely pay each year.

Carlberg said the county property tax department would have to evaluate the development if it happens, but said a Walmart on the former’s Pov’s site would likely pay more than $350,000 each year in property taxes. This is split between many governmental entities including the city, county, school district, regional rail authority, watershed district and so on.

The Target store in Andover Station paid approximately $350,000 in property taxes last year. According to Carlberg, this Target is about 140,000 square feet compared with the proposed Walmart of about 150,000 square feet. Target is on a 12.67-acre parcel compared, while the proposed Walmart is on an almost 20-acre site.

According to county records, Pov’s property tax due in 2011 was about $80,000. This is just the property tax and does not include the city’s special assessment for the Jay Street construction project. Pov’s did not pay any property taxes or assessments in 2011 or 2010 and did not pay the full amount in 2009.

Including the principal amounts, interest and penalties, Pov’s had a delinquent tax amount totalling $418,230.87 as of March 15, according to county records. This amount would have to be paid once the property sale closes and the funds would be distributed to the different governmental entities.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

  • lived in andover forever!

    i think its stupid to put a Walmart there, target looses all business, there is a Walmart not Even 2 miles away!

    • Concerned Andover resident?

      If you too are a concerned resident, get involved!

      http://andoverneighbors.wikispaces.com

      Tuesday, April 10 @ 7pm – Andover Planning & Zoning Meeting – City Hall

    • kevin

      target wants walmart there so it can close and get a loss do to walmart moving there target is lossing money there and would have a way out and not take a big loss .

  • http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html Sydney

    Seems like a rotten thing to do to the other businesses that have invested in Andover. We will gain nothing. Existing stores will go under which is Wal-marts mo.

    • kevin

      the stores that are lossing money want walmart there so they can close and wright it off as a loss do to walmart moving there .

  • Gaile

    I agree that the two stores would be too close together in the Pov’s site, but would love one along the Hwy 65 corridor that mimics the Cambridge store. That store is one stop shopping for me and East Bethel really doesn’t offer anything like that for miles..would be nice to stop there on my way home from work for my grocery and other needed items.

  • R.Hill

    @lived in andover forever!
    @Sydney
    @Gaile
    Competition will hurt no one. These are the big boys of retail,they don’t need anybody protecting them from a challenge.If you look there are many multiple stores selling whatever that are close together(CVS,Walgreens). Can’t seem to remember any Targets or Wal-marts closing because a competitor moving in.Lowes,Home Depot,Menards comes to mind as example of this working quite well for them and us consumers.

  • Tom Eldien

    To start, I have lived in Andover for 22-1/2 years so far right across the street from festival. When we moved in the wrecking yards were there, and it was still felt rural. With all the changes that have taken place the one thing I really like is that we still feel like a small community. All the stores close down by 10pm. as an example. By letting Wallmart in(it is not about competition)they are going to expect to be open 24 hours, and since my family have traveled alot around the United States the majority of the stores we come across are not pretty site after awhile. There is way more at stake here, then just tax dollars.

  • Tom Eldien

    My wife and I moved to Andover in 1989.(We live across the street from Festival)The wrecking yards were here, it was still very much rural. Even with with all the changes it has still kept the small community feel. All the local big stores close at 10pm, Wallmart will expect to be open 24 hours. For those of us that live close by this would be a huge issue, I don’t want daytime at night. If the city lets them in (I don’t feel it is about competition or taxes) I think we’ll lose way more than we’ll gain. My family and I have traveled over quite a lot of the U.S.A and I am not to impressed what I see with them, seems like they are always the grungier store around. We have got a real nice area here, I know the city would like to have more property taxes but sometimes we just have to be a little more patient. I think the city should just say NO!

  • Allen Lerold

    Why would we want a business paying over $350,000 in property taxes and providing employment when we could have a beautiful meadow or a community garden? We should listen to the Wal-Mart haters and their brothers and sisters in the Occupy movement when considering what should be allowed in Andover.
    For God’s sake, it used to be a dump, a junkyard, and a bar. I think we’d survive Walmart.

    • http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html Ann

      It was a bar when I moved to Andover in 1999 and an ugly one at that. Andover still has a landfill that will be with the community forever. Just because I want to see sports fields for the kids as opposed to more retail in Andover does not make me a supporter of Occupy anything. It is the name calling where you lose your arguement to be taken seriously.

      Most of us that moved to Andover came here wanting open space and the feel of country within easy reach of the city. I did not move to Andover because shopping was convenient and having a Walmart will not bring the kind of shopping I would want to have anyway.

  • http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html Ann

    Perhaps instead of putting in a box store the City of Andover should think out of the box and develop the land as a sports complex. Blaine has had great success with their soccer complex. Brings in lots of business for the community and something to be proud of. If taxes have not been paid for 3 years why has this land not been confiscated for back taxes?

  • Lisa

    Many neighbors are concerned about the general impact to our exisiting business, some within a few short blocks as mentioned (Target, Festival, Northgate – even Walgreen’s?) which could create more vacancy and decrease the tax base as quickly as it is increased. Further out – I suspect Frattalone’s and some smaller businesses near Round Lake & Bunker would also see a negative impact.

    It’s not an easy trip down the 2-lane roads from any of our neighboring communities to the north; increasing that traffic on our already congested roads (especially during school commute & business commute hours) would have significant impact.

    As I understand it…Wal-Mart in Riverdale is a leased space (which many of us choose not to shop at). Does that store then close with the investment in Andover (owned space is always more attractive than leased space to a business)? Then, as a result are those cars, crime calls and more re-directed into Andover? I think that’s a question that needs answering as part of the decision.

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