On March 20, the Broward County Commission will vote on the plat for the proposed Walmart at 670 E. Oakland Park Blvd., the former Kmart site.
Under Florida law, platting is the process of the subdivision of property and is used by Broward to evaluate the impact developments will have on the region. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. in room 422 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale.
Steven Wherry, the Fort Lauderdale attorney representing Walmart, said that the opening has been delayed and he’s not sure now when it will open.
The proposed 121,345 square foot store, which is 4,000 square feet bigger than the former Kmart, was approved by Oakland Park commissioners at the end of 2016 and will employ an estimated 300 to 350 people. The site will have 510 parking spaces and solar panels will be installed to provide some of the building’s energy needs. Walmart will also hire an off-duty BSO deputy to provide extra security.
Under the city’s code, Walmart could have occupied the old Kmart building without approval from the commission.
Some residents in Oakland Park and Wilton Manors were for the new Walmart and some were against. Before Oakland Park approved the project, City Attorney D.J. Doody advised commissioners that it would be hard for the city to prevail if Walmart had sued. “The city would have a challenge in defending an action brought in approving the plat. It would be a challenge to defend relative to a ministerial act,” said Doody.
The main concern expressed by the public and city commissioners in Wilton Manors was the impact traffic might have on the surrounding area. Wherry said truck drivers would not make right-hand turns onto Northeast 6 Avenue. “We can make a commitment like that and stick to it. We can be flexible,” said Wherry in August of 2015.
When it does open, if given final approval by the county, the store hours will be from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily and it will only be open 24 hours during three days chosen by Walmart. Per an agreement with the city, the only way the store can be open 24 hours on more than those three days is if the city allows one of Walmart’s competitors to open 24 hours. Wherry said the days chosen by Walmart will most likely revolve around high-traffic shopping days, such as Black Friday.