News Tidbits 12/10/08: Ithaca’s “Fancy New” Wal-Mart

10 12 2008

So, recently, although the national and state economies are sinking like a stone in a lake, there has been one slight bright spot here in little Ithaca. The local Wal-Mart is continuing its expansion plans, and apparently the giant retailer plans to use Ithaca as its first test market for a more socially conscious image for the retailer. To quote the Ithaca Journal article:

“Wal-Mart is trying out a new branding campaign characterized by smaller signs, earth tones, and more pedestrian-friendly amenities like awnings outside the store, said Jim Gallagher, an architect with PB2 Architecture and Engineering and a Wal-Mart consultant.”

I’d post the Daily Sun photo if I could find it, but locating any image of the redesign has been a royal pain in the ass, so we’ll go without it for now.

A facadectomy isn’t going to change the image of a store so despised by fringe locals that they planted a bomb (yes, it was an actual improvised explosive device [3]). But, hey, if that’s how they want to spend their money, then let them do stonework and vestibules in the hope that people stop associating them with corporate greed.

A Wal-Mart was first proposed in Ithaca for the property in the early 1990s where the Home Depot sits today, but it was shot down by community opposition (the site was planned by Widewaters Development Group out of the Syracuse area). The current store wen through an untold number of hoops while trying to avoid the barbs of angry locals who did not want a Wal-Mart in the area, The current Wal-Mart, approved in 2002, opened in early spring of 2005 [6].

Meanwhile, Cornell is still planning the 6,000 sq. ft. Plantations Welcome Center [4] , and a new water tank off of Hungerford Hill Road. Student Agencies is seeking approval for the construction of a 10,000 sq. ft warehouse off of Sheffield Road to expand their capacity for the storage of student items during the summer months.

Apart from that, nothing really new from the planning board agendas of the town or the city. Some cosmetic work and a few more large parcels of land being subdivided for future house development.






[5] -Wal-Mart Attack