You can’t say that Wal-Mart didn’t warn the citizens of Asheville, North Carolina. Newsflash reported on December 9, 2000 that Wal-Mart had taken two black eyes in defeat here, but they were still willing to come back and take more punches. “We’re going to take a fresh look at Asheville,” Wal-Mart said, as they pulled out of one site in town. “I can’t tell you when and where and how it will happen.” Now they can talk about where and when. According to local news reports, Wal-Mart is back with a vengeance, trying to locate again on a site known as the Bleacheries, this time trying to hide among a hotel and multi-family housing. But the property has to be rezoned from commercial industrial and river district zoning to regional business and urban village zoning. (The city is also dealing with a proposed Target about one mile from the Wal-Mart site. Target has received preliminary approval.) On April 16h, the city’s Technical Review committee asked for a delay until they could get more information from developers. This time around, the Wal-Mart supercenter plans calls for a 219,622 s.f.Wal-Mart, plus a second store of 88,474 s.f. At the same time, Wal-Mart has submitted its design plans to the city’s River District Design Review Committee. The company has said it will seek design inspiration from other structures along the Swannanoa river. Maybe they will propose a rubber store that can float down the river. Local residents and smart growth groups have vowed that this project will mark the third set of ashes for Wal-Mart in Asheville.
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