Los Angeles Business Journal

Effort to Block Downtown Wal-Mart Grocery Rejected

By RYAN FAUGHNDER Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Los Angeles city zoning office has rejected an appeal by Wal-Mart opponents to overturn permits for a Wal-Mart grocery store in Chinatown, the company announced Thursday.

The Los Angeles Office of Zoning Administration on Dec. 20 rejected the appeal, which was filed by a labor organization opposed to Wal-Mart’s plans. The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance had alleged that the Department of Building and Safety shouldn’t have issued building permits at 701 West Cesar E. Chavez Ave. near downtown Los Angeles. The group said the permits were rushed.

Maya Zaitzevsky, associate zoning administrator at the Office of Zoning Administration, rejected the appeal.

“This ruling is a victory for city residents who want to bring revitalization, jobs and affordable shopping options to downtown L.A.,” said Steven Restivo, a spokesman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “This is the third time a challenge has been rejected, sending a clear message to those who seek to block economic development only to serve their own special interests.”

Wal-Mart announced the 33,000-square-foot grocery store in February and received city permits for the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in March. The project quickly prompted opposition from labor and neighborhood groups.

The alliance has argued that Chinatown community’s cultural integrity will be compromised by the new Wal-Mart. An attorney for the alliance said the group would consider an appeal to the Planning Commission.