Judge rules Wal-Mart demolition of Farmers Market building can continue

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A judge Monday denied a bid for a temporary restraining
order that would have stopped demolition work at the site of a Wal-Mart store
in a landmark building in Sherman Heights.

Members of neighborhood and labor-affiliated groups claimed that Wal-
Mart began demolishing the iconic Farmers Market building before issuing proper
notice. They went to court last week in a bid to get the project shut down.

The retailer's lawyers said it had the necessary permits to begin work
on its future Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, which will be smaller than the
typical big-box store and focus mainly on groceries. The site is in a building
that has a tower that dominates the skyline east of Interstate 5 near downtown.

A city permit calls for seismic retrofits of the structure, including
the removal of the north wall, windows, roof and floor.

In his ruling, Judge Joel Pressman said the work was consistent with
city-approved plans that call for maintaining the facade. He also said the
building, in its current condition, was a safety hazard, so the plaintiffs —
the Coalition for Safe and Healthy Economic Progress — should have acted
sooner.

“It's good news when construction teams are back to work and residents
are a step closer to getting what they have overwhelmingly said they want —
more job opportunities and affordable grocery options in their own
neighborhood, said Steve Restivo, the senior director of community affairs at
Wal-Mart.

“We will continue to engage with the community as we improve the vacant
Farmers Market building and create a new, vibrant destination for local
customers,” he said.

While the tower is easily visible to commuters, the structure does not
meet any of the city's criteria for historic buildings.

Categories: KUSI