A study released yesterday shows that a Wal-Mart supercenter proposed for Lodi, California will not lift many boats. According to the Stockton Record, the study concluded that a new Wal-Mart won’t draw much new business to Lodi, instead it will predominately be taking sales away from other established stores in the city. Wal-Mart has sought to build a superstore on 35 acres of land at Lower Sacramento Road, but the study says such a location will result in the loss of prime farmland and reduce air quality in the region. The study was prepared for shopping-center developer Darryl Browman. The study warns that the city of Stockton and Lodi will simply be battling each other for sales tax dollars, because a new Stockton shopping center, which includes a Wal-Mart, is twice the size as the center proposed for Lodi. “The emerging competition will make it nearly impossible for the proposed Superstore to expand the market area boundaries across a broader geography,” the report states. “Instead, the big-box retailers located [in Lodi] will need to work hard to retain their current market share in light of the expanding competition.” The economic impact report estimated that Wal-Mart would boost sales by $34.5 million over its existing Wal-Mart Lodi store — but two-thirds of those sales would be “captured” from existing Lodi grocery and drug stores. The proposed retail center is on 35 acres, and includes a total of 339,966 s.f. of retail space, 226,868 of that taken up by the Wal-Mart supercenter. The overall environmental report on the Lodi center is open for comments until September 20th, and a final EIS (environmental impact study) would follow that. Lodi’s community development director indicated the final report would not be done before the Nov. 2 election, when Lodi voters will be voting on a measure to place a cap of 125,000 s.f. on retail developments. The development director tried to put the best spin on the new economic report. “We’ve never contended it’s going to be some panacea for revenue,” he told the Record. “From a planning standpoint, it’s an allowed use on a commercially zoned piece of land. This may not be an instance of increasing your sales-tax base. It may be retaining your sales-tax base.” Property-tax revenue from the shopping center would be negligible. Lodi’s Interim City Manager said she was surprised the shopping center won’t add more sales-tax dollars to the city. Opposing the plan are the Citizens for Open Government, who said the new report understated the economic harm the project will do. “Our information shows that it’s actually a loss to the community for the extra services it will require,” a spokesman for the group said.
Lodi also gets a dead Wal-Mart out of the deal is a new Wal-Mart is built. Local officials assume a new tenant will be found for the old Wal-Mart, but about one-third of the 371 empty Wal-Marts today are ones that have been on the market since 1999. For other economic impact studies, search this database by “economic”. For earlier stories on this city, search by “Lodi.”