Sherman Heights Walmart Project to Resume Construction

The construction involves partial demolition of the Farmers Market building on Imperial Avenue

A Superior Court judge ruled Monday that Walmart can continue its construction at the iconic Sherman Heights Farmers Market building.

The ruling is a setback for community members trying to preserve the exterior of the building.

Opponents to the new construction feel the city and Walmart haven't been forthcoming with their plans, but a judge disagreed.

The building at the center of the disagreement has been vacant in the heart of Sherman Heights for two years.

It’s a building full of history and memories for locals like Rene Bermudez who calls it a cultural and community hub.

On Monday, she drove around the property surveying the destruction already in progress.

"It's like the death of a good friend, where we have no control, cause the money talks,” Bermudez said.

Construction had been delayed since last week in anticipation of Monday's hearing.

Community activists said the city and its new tenant "Walmart" promised the building's facade would remain intact.

"They were granted a conditional use permit, only for tenant improvements, that means the interior, doesn't mean exterior," said Bermudez.

Walmart and the city argued in court Monday that all proper permits have been met.

"To issue documents to the public year after year that say there will be no construction, no demolition, no modification of the facade and then come here to argue it's permissable for some bureaucrat in a room to issue a permit that allows demolition is being deceitful to the public."

The judge disagreed, saying while the building may have historic value it doesn't meet the criteria for protection.

He also says the building isn't being torn down, but according to the plans certain parts will in fact be preserved, restored, and enhanced once the construction process is completed.

Construction can resume immediately.

Steven V. Restivo, Senior Director of Community Affairs for Walmart issued the following statement:

"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. We will continue to engage with the community as we improve the vacant Farmer’s Market building and create a new, vibrant destination for local customers.”

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