About 36,000 households in east-side Salt Lake City neighborhoods have received mailers from Wal-Mart that seek support for turning a Kmart on Parleys Way into a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
The mailer has a return postcard that residents can send to The Summit Group, a local public-relations firm, voicing support for the supercenter proposed for 2705 E. Parleys Way. The postcard allows residents to request to receive more information about the store and to grant permission to use their names as supporters of the project. The mailers were sent out Friday and are the third wave of mailers in the past year from Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart has owned the Kmart property since February 2005 and wants to raze the 40-year-old building for what Wal-Mart describes as a larger, more modern and attractive space. But Wal-Mart first must persuade the Salt Lake City Planning Commission to change the area's master plan and zoning to allow for a supercenter.
The commission last month listened to a presentation from developers and comments from the public but made no decisions.
Wal-Mart's plans have angered some residents in the area, many of whom would prefer small businesses in the neighborhood and worry about traffic to the store, which is near the intersections of I-80, I-215, Foothill Boulevard, Parleys Way and Wilshire Drive.
The Sugar House, East Bench, Greater Avenues, Bonneville Hills, Wasatch Hollow, Sunnyside East and Yalecrest community councils have passed motions or resolutions opposing the rezone because it is not supported by the East Bench master plan. They also contend that the big-box store would increase traffic and harm local businesses.
Wal-Mart purchased the 113,000-square-foot Kmart building in February 2005 with intentions to build a superstore roughly the same size on the 10.4-acre parcel. Sales at the Kmart have been low, and Wal-Mart will move into the existing building if it cannot get the city to approve changes for a new building.
"We would just encourage folks to provide their comments to us," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karianne Fallow.
Even negative comments?"Sure," Fallow said Wednesday. "We're trying to be as transparent in this process as possible, and we have been for the last year in a half. Hopefully, that's become obvious."