Hundreds of neighbors rallied against the retail giant, and on Tuesday company spokesperson Joshua Phair issued a statement confirming Walmart is no longer involved:
"While Walmart will not be part of the planned redevelopment of the former University of Colorado Health Sciences campus, we will continue to evaluate other opportunities to serve Denver area customers and expand access to affordable groceries.
We are proud to operate dozens of stores in the metro area, including several in the City and County of Denver. Our reputation as a good employer and valued retailer is supported by the fact that everyday thousands of local residents choose to work at Walmart and every week hundreds of thousands of customers shop our Denver area stores. We appreciate their vote of cofidence and remain committed to working with the City and County of Denver and local communities to help create jobs, spur business development, and help residents save money."
Developer Jeff Fuqua must come up with a new plan for the old CU hospital campus.
Fuqua says he's disappointed by Walmart's decision, but he's not walking away from the project.
Fuqua says he will move forward with his plan to transform this old hospital into a new mix of retail and residential.
The question now: What will 9th and Colorado look like without the retail giant?
"It'll look similar, it will, but we're going to have to restructure the financial aspects and some of the design elements of the project to do it without Walmart," Fuqua said.
Fuqua says Walmart walked away because the plan became too complicated and expensive, and not just because of neighborhood opposition.
"We will in some way figure out how to develop this project and work as hard as we can to move forward as fast as we can," Fuqua said.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says the city is committed to developing the old CU hospital campus which has been boarded up for a decade.
"We want you to have a project that you can be proud of," Hancock said.
Mayfair neighbors president Wayne Sirmons and his fellow board members were a driving force behind the opposition to Walmart. "We're ecstatic. It was never right for the property. It was never right for the development," Sirmons said.
Volunteers flooded the city council with emails, plastered streets with hundreds of signs, and vehemently opposed the $15 to $20 million dollars in public financing the developer was seeking.
"It's nice to see that really the voice of the neighborhood can be heard," Sirmons said.
He says neighbors want an even bigger voice.
"Everybody wants to see development. But we want to see the right development," Sirmons said.
Neighbors say the "right development" would include an equal mix of local and national businesses, plus more high density residential property.
Fuqua says it's too soon to discuss specifics of his new plan for this property, but he plans to do that in the coming weeks.
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