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Wal-Mart Contacted County About Potential Altadena Store Opening

Though the County Planning Department received a call from Wal-Mart representatives about a store opening in Altadena, nobody has yet signed a lease for the supermarket site at Lincoln and Figueroa, according to the site's leasing agent.

County officials have received a call from a representative of the national chain Wal-Mart about opening a store at a vacant lot at Lincoln and Figueroa, but according to a representative of the property owner, there is not yet a deal in place with any specific retailer to open at the location.

Gene Detchemendy, a Pasadena leasing agent who represents the property owners of the site, told Patch that he is talking with several national chains to open a grocery store on the site, but has not yet agreed to a deal with anyone.  He declined to name specific companies that he has discussed the site with, but said he has spoken with multiple national retailers about it.

 on the existing structure on the property and rumors began to spread that a Wal-Mart-brand grocery store would open there - a local real estate listing for a nearby home claimed one was planned for the site, and readers on this site debated the merits and drawbacks of a Walmart.  The rumored Walmart was also discussed at the .

Recently, representatives of Wal-Mart contacted the County Planning Department about rules for a store opening ceremony in Altadena, according to Edel Vizcarra, the planning deputy for County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

Vizcarra told Patch that the call the department received pertained to rules about displaying balloons or banners, or something else related to a store opening ceremony.

Detchemendy said he has heard of the call and has spoken with county officials about it, but said he does not know who at Walmart made the call. 

He said that the site would be too small for a traditional Walmart, but also noted that the retailer has started building smaller stores focused on grocery and food items that would fit on the lot.

Representatives of Wal-Mart have not returned multiple phone calls from Altadena Patch asking about the site.

The lot is owned by M & A Gabaee, a Los Angeles property development company.  Construction on the parking lot and storefront on the site began in March, part of an effort to get it prepared to open as a supermarket, Detchemendy said.

Detchemendy also said the location has gotten some interest from other retail options, such as dollar store chains, but said he believes there is more community interest in a grocery store. 

However, getting retailers to commit to Lincoln Avenue has been difficult, he said - many see nearby liquor stores and vacant lots and lose interest, he said.

"It's just been very hard to get someone to come off Lake [Avenue]...that's why this thing has sat vacant for 6 or 7 years," Detchemendy said

Detchemendy said that he hopes to have a deal for the site before the end of the year, and that he plans to make a presentation before the Altadena Town Council once a deal is in place.

He said he has been to several of the  meetings and wants to incorporate some of the ideas mentioned there into the store location, such as providing bike parking.

Michael O'Neal-Petterson June 14, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I wouldn't mind another store on Lincoln, even though it would screw up traffic there. But PLEASE don't let it be Wal*Mart! It is not a store I would ever patronize, and it would just be another foothold as they try to push into the metro L.A. market. Wal*Mart has helped destroy the American economy more than any other single entity.
debrah June 14, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Walmart is a capitalist blemish on America and we Altadenans should NOT support a store opening in our town. They manufacture, promote and sell substandard products and treat their employees even worse. Do we really want to bring such unfair consumer practices to our town? http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/business/women-file-new-class-action-bias-case-against-wal-mart.html
Alison Johnson June 14, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I would put in my vote for a Fresh & Easy. When I worked in Eagle Rock, I used to go to the one there on the border with Glassell Park about 2-3x/week. The one on Lake & California is hard to get to and has limited parking, so I've never even gone there. I really like their ambience & simplicity, and their store brands are preservative-free.
Lisa June 14, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I really wouldnt want another market there! We have way too many in the area already. Is it too small to make it a little center where possibly they could put food chains? Or even places like a Jamba juice, frozen yogurt etc? Definitely something other then another market...
Greg Gearn June 14, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Ugh! Walmart seems in direct opposition to many of the values held by people in Altadena. Cheap goods at cheap prices turn out to be bad buys in the long term. Similarly bad jobs at bad pay turn out to be a poor future for Walmart workers. With the new Farmers Market at one end of Lincoln and a Walmart at the other, I think it would just push forward the decline of that section of Altadena while the rest of the area moves forward. What next in a new Walmart ghetto? The liquor stores are already there; maybe some more payday lenders and some porn shops?
Alta_D June 14, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Please No Wal-mart, maybe a "food court" along Lisa's line. Jamba juice, frozen yogurt, sandwich shops.
Linda R June 14, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Pleae NO WALMART, I agree with Debra and Greg.....Altadena is not a place for gigantic or even "scaled" down chains especially WalMart...........I would love a Trader Joe's and their excuse for no is covering up real reason.....the area........that location needs a small, friendly market of some kind. LaCanada TJ's is always crowded as is the one on the Arroyo, a little better at Hastings Ranch.....they are all spread out yet are very busy.
Linda R June 14, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I just learned there is a TJ's in Montrose, so their excuse about taking business from LaCanada, Arroyo and Hastings Ranch is baloney. p.s. HR and Montrose both have motorized shopping carts for the disabled.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) June 14, 2012 at 07:17 PM
@LindaR - I think there is something to that. I imagine a lot of people who frequent Trader Joe's in Pasadena or La Canada would make many more trips to the store if there was one in Altadena. You might take away some business from those stores but I bet you would see a huge net gain. The bottom line is that people prefer not to travel too far for groceries, and there are closer options than Trader Joe's.
Antoinette Perry June 14, 2012 at 08:15 PM
I love all the comments here, and agree that Walmart would not be what we are about. I have 3 questions: 1) Might this not already be a done deal, since they are inquiring about opening ceremonies (Would they be putting the cart before the horse)? 2) Do our opinions matter at this point----is it too late? 3) If they do matter, how can we get together and be the most effective in our opposition (assuming the general consensus is against having a Walmart there) Thanks, An
Linda R June 14, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I no longer frequent TJ's LC as I have mobility issues and they have no motorized carts.....Montrose is not too far away, or I go to Hastings Ranch when in that area. I also firmly agree with Michael's comments.....as for Antoinette's, I have learned through the years. that 1) yes probably a done secret deal 2) our opinions never seem to matter 3) we are usually helpless in getting some changed, especially if there are done deals or collusion going on behind our backs (case in point, some of the decisions recently made at the Visioning meetings......where only a trickle of people participated, although some questionable folks were present) The one over riding factor in everything these days seems to be money and greed. Sad, because Altadena is different from other communities and not like that nor a place for gigantic businesses, etc. I have lived here for 44 years and seen many unpleasant attitudes and changes take place.
Holly Rundberg June 14, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Steve Lamb and/or Dan- Do either of you have a phone # or email for Antonovich where we could easily voice our opinions about Wal*Mart? Thank you.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) June 14, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Holly, you could contact his chief deputy Tony Bell at tbell@bos.lacounty.gov. The office line where you can reach him or others on staff is 213-974-5555.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) June 14, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Antoinette, very good questions. My impression is that it is not a done deal, but I obviously can't say that with certainty. Talking to the developer I got the sense he really wants to strike a deal and is uncertain if he is going to be able to get a national supermarket chain interested or not. As for community opinion and what it can do - zoning-wise, the site is cleared for a supermarket, so it is pretty wide open to any company that wants to locate there. As far as I know there are not very many options on working against a specific company through government action - zoning restrictions tend to be the most effective way of keeping a certain type of company out.
Revvell June 14, 2012 at 10:08 PM
"It's just been very hard to get someone to come off Lake [Avenue]...that's why this thing has sat vacant for 6 or 7 years," Detchemendy said.... "Come off Lake?" What's the reason for the empty lots ON Lake?
ed meyers June 14, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Regarding Lake/Calavaras, I've been told by the same leasing agent Dan spoke to that Altadena's "no drive thru" ordinanace is somewhat (not fully) to blame. I was told a Starbucks &/or Walgreens/CVS were interested in that corner but both wanted a drive thru concept. Our Comm.Standards don't allow drive thrus so they bailed. Same person told me that the max. retail sq.footage for that lot would be 30,000sq.ft.
Laura Monteros June 14, 2012 at 11:26 PM
It's my understanding the the Montrose TJ's replaced the small and antiquated store in La Crescenta, just a couple of miles to the west.
Laura Monteros June 14, 2012 at 11:30 PM
No WalMart! They will have no interest in our community, and they are irresponsible employers and marketers. However, a gas station...just one, please...on this artery to the 210 Freeway would be very welcome! A food court sounds good, too, with a few small shops.
Laura Monteros June 14, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Mat's is already across the street, and has been in the community for decades, so a new stand-alone pharmacy would probably not do well in any case.
SteveB June 15, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Is the Jack in the Box grandfathered, then? I for one like drive-thrus - it's the main reason I frequent Jack in the Box. I for one would love a drive through Starbucks. Given that Rite-Aid isn't renovating any time soon, a Walgreens/CVS would be welcome as well (we do use Websters as first choice for prescription needs, but a pharmacy with later hours would be a welcome addition). Was changing this drive-thru standard one of the items up for discussion at the community standards meetings?
pusddad June 15, 2012 at 01:27 AM
big oil good. walmart bad.
ed meyers June 15, 2012 at 01:34 AM
@ SteveB - Yes JIB is grandfathered in. When the no drive thru ordinance went into place (about 30 yrs ago) my guess is that only fast food restaurants used drive thrus. Now, businesses that we never thought would utilize a drive thru are now using them. My guess is a lot of ppl would like the convenience of a drive thru. Even stay at home mom & dads can zip thru one w/o having to unstrap/strap in 1 or more child just to go in a store. This Comm.Standard ordinance was mentioned at some of the break out discussions at the visioning mtgs. I can't say how high a priority it was. My guess is that many in town don't even know about the ordinance.
Karen Ambrose June 15, 2012 at 04:51 AM
I think Linda R is right, TJ's excuse regarding competing with their other stores is BS. I feel like most likely it is the perception of the neighborhood - after all, it was only a few blocks from Lincoln & Fig that the burning body was found, and there have been what - 2 or 3 shootings in West Altadena/Northwest Pasadena in the last 8 months? That's a bummer because I think Dan is right, and frankly I don't think a TJ in that location would compete with the La Canada or Pasadena stores, they're just too far. I'd imagine that most people in that area shop at the Super King, since it is the largest and most convenient. And while it does sound like the deal might be done if they are inquiring about opening ceremonies, contacting Antonovich's office is the best way to be heard. I agree to no Walmart - I refuse to shop there, and the 2 times I have ever been in the one in Monrovia have creeped/freaked me out, its so frighteningly... ginormous. I read that in 2010 the citizens of Quartz Hill in Antelope Valley won a 6-year court battle to keep Walmart out of their community, but unfortunately, I just read that the appellate court just reversed that 2010 judgement. I hope we can prevent/halt them from coming here.
Alison Johnson June 15, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Another idea-- what has the Arroyo Co-op done about approaching the owner and/or investigating the space for their venture? This would meet the desire for a local market, would give them a location that was not in Pasadena but in Altadena, would support a grassroots organization, and would provide a very healthy resource for our bodies and economy. Just thinkin'.... Of course, the owner wants to reap a healthy return from his investment-- when you pour that much money and time into a project, you want some assurance that you will be able to pay it off and have a healthy amount left over for your efforts. WalMart does provide that impression of security/stability of income. I think there are thousands of people in Altadena, who do not participate in these blogs, who would flock to a WalMart, and be extremely grateful that they didn't have to take a bus or pay for a ride from a friend to get to the one in Monrovia.
SteveB June 15, 2012 at 04:32 PM
pusddad funny.
Abhayada June 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
If this happens it will kill the spirit of Altadena.
H Delu June 16, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I would love a drive thru Starbucks, but I would not want more drive-thru fast food chains. Sprouts would be at the top of my list for a market (after Trader Joe's)
Todd Mizuki July 08, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I live on Laun Street the first Altadena street on Lincoln Ave and I don't want any more traffic we need to keep Walmart out!
Peter Wormer July 09, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Remember, YEARS AGO, when (myopic) America worshiped all Sam Walton was accomplishing, driving his old pick up truck..Oh yeah, Sam was just one-of-us-guys.I, and not enough other workers tried -in vain- to warn of this TROJAN HORSE being foisted upon an unsuspecting public, which -admittedly-was only interested/BLINDED by one thing:.CHEAPER PRODUCTS.!.I'm sorry to note that some of my younger relatives practically LIVE at a walmart store.(Oh, it's so EASY, they have EVERYTHING there) Is anyone struck by the irony of it all:.SAM WALTON -an American success story-.......now, his brainchild WALMART -in all its corporate arrogancy- has bought its way into Altadena to open up a store which is NOT needed, all the while BLATANTLY using UNAMERICAN substandard labor practises which lower our standard of living, to put King supermarket and ANY/ALL other competitors OUT OF BUSINESS - as quickly as possible.............OUR problems as residents of ALtadena is the cold fact that we are -in effect- urinating into the wind:...It comes back in our faces....as long as NOBODY can place some "strategically" placed campaign contributions in the "right places".....Corporate giants will have their way dictating to us our standard of living, however low Walmart set their wage/benefit structure.....AS for me:...I shall continue my years long solo personal -albeit one person- boycott of ANY Walmart. Excuse me, I have to go and hurl...............
C. Norris July 17, 2012 at 06:38 AM
Its a done deal, Wal-Mart is here to stay. Just think of all the traffic that's going to happen from the off ramp and surrounding area. Only 1 Wal-Mart in the area, hello. Let's get this party started. Traffic going to reflect that of a Dodger game during the play-off's.

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