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Tonight: Public Meeting At Four Seasons Mall

Mall property owner Walmart is hosting a public meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 about the future of the site.

Down to one business, Kaplan Professional Schools, the Four Seasons Mall stands pretty empty these days.

But tonight, from 6 to 8 p.m., the parking lot could be quite full while people file into the mall to attend a public meeting called by property owner Walmart.

Walmart purchased the land for $10.6 million, but has not put in proposal to build on the site. The company wanted to have public meetings to engage the community and get feedback about building on the site before making any formal proposals.

According to ProSource.com, a website for Kaplan class scheduling, classes will no longer be held at its Four Seasons Mall location in Plymouth after Nov. 1., 2012, and are being moved to a new spot. 

Previously, the Plymouth City Council had put a moratorium to halt any possible site plan proposals for the property as city staff put together information regarding possiblities, needs and future uses for the site. The council met to discuss these at several work sessions as well, but the moratorium was lifted in November 2011.

According to the city's website

"The city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan states that the site is a good candidate for mixed use when it redevelops. The city intended mixed use in this location to include commercial, retail, office and potentially specialized housing (i.e senior, live/work). The plan also indicates that redevelopment include a transit element and be sensitive to the adjacent neighborhood to the west."

The 21-acre site of the former mall is zoned neighborhood commercial and would have to be rezoned for Walmart to build there. The city will have to be given rationale by the business that supports rezoning it. 

At previous public meetings held by the city of Plymouth about its vision to redevelop the site, many neighbors living near the Mall don't want to see a Walmart built there. Concerns expressed included traffic demand on local roads around the property, implications of Walmart being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and more.

Walmart sent out a letter in September 2012 to the surrounding neighborhood to invite people to discuss the possibility of it building on the site. Originally, the meeting tonight was planned for Sept. 26, but since that was during the celebrated Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, it was rescheduled for Oct. 10.

Currently the only use for the Four Seasons Mall is a five-day fundraiser sale called Angel's Attic benefitting the Angel Foundation, which benefits cancer patients in need and their families. Walmart donated the site for the fundraiser.

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Carole Rydberg October 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM
We have lived in this area for almost 40 years and can recall times when that mall was a very busy place; that is where we bought all of our groceries, went to the drugstore, ate out, etc. Of course, those businesses were not open 24 hours a day. Would Walmart be willing to compromise on that aspect of their desired plan? Personally, I haven't shopped at a Walmart for many years (for labor related reasons) but, other than the 24 hour aspect, I see no problem for the area. It would provide jobs and would be handy for those who do shop regularly at Walmart. I would think that most traffic would exit to Rockford Road rather than driving through neighborhoods.
Tom Robinson October 10, 2012 at 01:30 PM
When we were searching for a home 10 years ago in a quiet, nice residential neighorhood we found the perfect spot off Pilgrim/Nathan. There are stop signs not stop lights in our community. The Four Seasons mall is within 100-200 yards from my front lawn. And over these past 10 years it had just the sort of businesses you'd like to have close by in your neighborhood: family hardware store, drug store, family pizza place, card shop, etc. I truly have no desire to see Walmart from my front yard, nor do I wish to deal with the flow of traffic coming to and from the store as I make my way to and from work or go about daily activities. I don't need to hear the noise (not to mention wear/tear on our residential roads) of large transfer trucks making their way into our neighborhood to deliver goods at all hours of the day and night. We live in a nice residential neighborhood. A Walmart store does not belong here, now, or ever.
Teresa October 10, 2012 at 03:45 PM
As a homeowner in the Pilgrim Lane neighborhood, I have not been informed of any kind of meeting regarding Walmart. I did not receive a mailer, or any other notification of this meeting. However, I think that as homeowners in this area we need to consider many things. First of all, with the closing of our neighborhood school, Pilgrim Lane, we are not as desirable of an area as other neighborhoods in Eastern Plymouth. Secondly, a vacant run-down strip mall in our backyard is not desirable. From the property value aspect, I think that something, even a Walmart, would be good for our home values. The one thing to consider for traffic is Walmart customers using Pilgrim Lane as a short-cut to get there. Since the Pilgrim Lane School closing, the City removed the one and only stop sign along that road, lending to drivers speeding. I'd like to see the stop sign replaced, and perhaps some other traffic accommodations for Pilgrim Lane itself. Trucks will not use neighborhood roads, since that is not the most efficient way to get to the site. They would use Rockford Road and Lancaster Lane. I don't expect to see any large Walmart trucks driving through the neighborhood. I have seen some Walmarts that have their own strip mall at the front near the registers, with small businesses like nail salons, fast food restaurants, etc. with small "shops" at the front of the store. So a new store wouldn't only benefit Walmart, but could bring in other small businesses.
Jill Robinson October 10, 2012 at 03:47 PM
We want this property to return to its quaint beginnings. The previous owner forced out tenants by raising rents so businesses had no other choice but to leave. These businesses were thriving, they were busy. The neighbors welcomed them. They were easy for all to access. The neighborhood hardware store, the Family restaurant, drug store, floral shop, dance studio, barber shop, pharmacy, You look at Maple Grove, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Edina. They all have small, quaint strip malls that drawn in the neighbors. They have even added mixed use tenant/residents. Why not bring this added value to our neighborhood? This is what fits into the property as it stands. Please rebuild this area to suit the site. Don't build something that does not belong in our neighborhood. I can assure you that the traffic study that was done, was done on a mall that had no tenants. This study is not accurate. We do not want increased traffic 24/7 in our neighborhood. Bring back our hometown mall, like the mall across from Cub Foods.
Mary Joe Anderson October 10, 2012 at 04:08 PM
We do not want a Walmart located at the 4 Seasons Mall location, near our home. It would cause much traffic congestion. There are many homes which would be located right across from the Walmart Parking lot. Lots of lights and traffic at all hours of the day and night. Walmart is known to draw undesirable customers and this causes police responses.
Judy B. October 10, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I'm against a "big box" retailer like Walmart moving near our neighborhood. What this would mean for our neighborhood is a lot of traffic including large trucks moving all hours of the day and night, stores open 24 hours and other concerns. This type of retailer does not blend into our neighborhood. Lancaster Lane could not handle the traffic...each March it is full of pot holes with the limited traffic it gets now. Judy
Teresa October 10, 2012 at 04:12 PM
However, without going to the meeting or seeing the proposal, you are assuming that there will be more traffic and lights coming from that location. Perhaps they will build a burm to block the store from view. Perhaps the front of the store will face 169. I urge you to attend the meeting to find that out.
RD Taylor October 10, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I live just off Pilgrim Lane, about three blocks from the mall. Anyone who thinks "most traffic" will exit to Rickford Road is fooling themselves. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows a secret back route though a quiet neighborhood somewhere, to avoid dealing with traffic and/or poorly timed stop lights. Pilgrim Lane will become the de facto escape hatch for frustrated drivers trying to get back to 169. It is not a "Walmart" I am opposed to. It is 170,000 square foot superstore, of any flavor, I oppose. It is entirely, I repeat ENTIRELY, inappropriate for that location. What city planner or city council person could honestly look at such a proposal for that site and say, "Yea, that's a great use for that piece of land." I'm sure the folks in western Plymouth think this will be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, if it goes through, I hope you enjoy the property tax hike to cover the loss of value that will impact the entire Pilgrim lane neighborhood.
rob_h78 October 10, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I don't have a problem with Walmart but I think that the way the streets are laid out in that area makes it a really bad idea to put something as large as a Walmart in that shopping center.
Dawayne Novak October 10, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I live in the immediate neighborhood of the proposed Walmart and I, too, did not receive ANY notification of a meeting tonight, and neither did ANY of my neighbors..If my wife had not seen a one sentence blurb about it in the paper this morning we would have never known. On my way home from Cub, I drove through the Four Season Parking lot and stopped and there are white 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper on the doors about the meeting and you have to stop the car and get out and go to the door to read it. Alas, how many people saw them??? How many people hang out at empty shopping centers??? I think this is on purpose so that Walmart can approach the City Council and say hardly any one showed up and therefore not in oppositiion to it!! Walmart, nor any big box store, belongs in this area. It is a quiet residential area and if they are allowed to build, we WILL see our neighborhood decline for various reasons. We all need to band together and fight this intrusion into our lives.
Teresa October 10, 2012 at 07:03 PM
I'm not sure, but I don't think the home values will decline. http://economy.money.cnn.com/2012/05/30/when-walmart-comes-to-town-home-prices-go-up/
Dawayne Novak October 10, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Yes, it will provide low level part time jobs that do not have health insurance or hardly any other benifits. And it is a known fact that with the building of a Walmart, it does not take long for many existing business in the area to close and or lay off people , resulting in a loss of jobs!! And, Walmart is one of THE biggest businesss' in the world---they CAN afford to pay their employees a living wage AND provide benifits too. And it is also a fact that in comparison to other big box stores, police calls to Walmarts average 8 to 10 a day per store. Do we also want that in our neigborhood? I think not.
Teresa October 10, 2012 at 07:10 PM
You said above: Yes, it will provide low level part time jobs that do not have health insurance or hardly any other benifits. And it is a known fact that with the building of a Walmart, it does not take long for many existing business in the area to close and or lay off people , resulting in a loss of jobs!! And, Walmart is one of THE biggest businesss' in the world---they CAN afford to pay their employees a living wage AND provide benifits too. And it is also a fact that in comparison to other big box stores, police calls to Walmarts average 8 to 10 a day per store. Do we also want that in our neigborhood? I think not. That is not what I was referencing. My bet is that most people in our neighborhood are not employed by a big-box retailer. And as consumers, we may choose where to spend our money. As HOMEOWNERS, though, we need to know what it will most likely do to the home values.
Carole Rydberg October 10, 2012 at 07:14 PM
When people speak of the Four Seasons Mall and its "quaint" beginnings, I can tell that they moved into the neighborhood AFTER the mall was already established and, perhaps, beginning to decline. There was a time when the mall housed a Super Valu market that was the only supermarket for miles around .... now there is a Cub and two Rainbow stores in this end of Plymouth alone. There was once a hardware, liquor store, Hallmark store, Snyder Brothers Drug, two barber-beauty shops, thriving family restaurants like Golden China, and many other businesses. There was also a great deal of traffic at that time and the parking lot was heavily used. It would be nice to have some of those types of businesses again but, the fact is, most businesses have not found that mall to be a profitable place to do business. I agree with Teresa that an empty mall ... or one full of pawn shops and such ... would be even worse as far as property values are concerned. I do not live as close as most who are responding and I do have appreciation for your concerns. At the same time, I have to ask, "Didn't the Mall exist BEFORE many of you moved in?" It has been declining for many years and so traffic is far less than it once was but that is hardly a desirable situation ... is it? I am not a "Walmart person" but do believe that some new vitality might be a positive for the area and not just a negative. Let's go and hear what they have to say.
Teresa October 10, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I think the "hometown" mall across from Cub Foods is like 3 years old. I remember when it was an old parking lot and only used for two months of the year to sell Christmas trees. Stores have remained vacant there, and others have had to close there as well. The stores there now are national chains: Papa Murphy's, Caribou, etc. We obviously can't support small strip-mall type businesses within this area.
Julie LaSota October 10, 2012 at 10:26 PM
My husband and I are looking forward to hearing what they have to say...but I can assure you that no matter what they do say about the space, we will NEVER support a big box store, especially Walmart. I work across the street from a Walmart and it's chaos during certain hours of the day. There is so much traffic that it can be difficult to get out of our parking lot. Also, I work in Eden Prairie where they just remodeled the entire store a few years ago. It was almost new not too long ago and it's already dirty and appears to get beaten up on a daily basis. It's my opinion that Walmart will not be a positive step for our beautiful neighborhood. We already have challenges like Pilgrim School closing and many lower rent apartments in the area. Walmart will be strike three and will not help in maintaining a great neighborhood. Traffic, people, shopping carts everywhere aside, it's not the appropriate place for that type of large store. I'm looking forward to tonight and hearing what everyone says and I hope that as a community we can help in making the best decision for our neighborhood.
Lynn October 11, 2012 at 01:02 AM
My house is on Old Rockford Rd frontage road. There is no doubt that both foot and road traffic will increase significantly on the frontage road. I am opposed to any big box,store moving with 3 blocks of my house. We chose a small intimate neighborhood for a reason and our immediate neighborhood has only 9 houses. I will not feel safe for many reasons if a big box store comes into the neighborhood. I do not believe our,house values would increase due to a significant increase in traffic and noise. And few Walmart employees could actually afford the houses in our small area.
Brad October 11, 2012 at 08:57 AM
I have lived in the area for almost 30 years. I too remember when the Four Seasons mall was full of tenants, but even then it was a hassle to get in and out of the oddly shaped parking lot onto the curvy Nathan Lane. I would love a Walmart in this area. Walmart should look at the old KMart site in New Hope just down Rockford Road. Plenty of room there for a big retail operation.
Dawayne Novak October 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM
We have lived here for 35 years. Yes, the mall was busy, and no, the traffic was never a problem , even when the mall was full. I worked at Ericksons Super Valu and New Market. Customers at the mall were local, it had business' that catered to the surrounding neighborhoods and it did not attract people from all over the west metro and Minneapolis, like Ridgedale and Maple Grove do. You walked into the stores and people knew you and greeted you! The thing that bothers me most about a Walmart at this location is , simply put, the riff raff that Walmarts attract and the additional police action in the area.. And also the tremedous increase in traffic into the neighborhood. According to plans and proposals I have seen at City Hall, Lancaster Lane will not be altered and entrances into the area will remain at the two that already exist. How is that going to work for a Walmart super store? the mall went under because the owners kept raising the rents to a point that it was no longer feasable for these stores to operate there. I like the concept of senior housing coupled with a few shops like a coffee shop and a barber and a beauty salon and perhaps a few other stores that would benifit from that idea. It is one of the proposals or ideas out there. Walmart can successfully be kept out of here if the city puts its mind to it, however, I am quite sure that Walmart will bully them and threaten lawsuits, like they have done in the past, if the city does not rezone the property..
Glass Half Full October 11, 2012 at 05:43 PM
@MaryJoe Anderson: I leave nearby and would hope that my patronage of Walmart would NOT make me an "undesirable customer" nor neighbor in the community. Change is good. If our community doesn't grow and adapt, it will die (Kmart, Four Seasons), etc. I have two young boys growing up in Dist. 281 and I wouldn't mind them finding a job at a future Walmart (although 2030 is a bit far off in the City's playbook). I would welcome Walmart to the neighborhood.
Glass Half Full October 11, 2012 at 06:03 PM
@Dawayne and others who think this will type of addition will ONLY bring in the riff-raff... perhaps if the LOCALS get behind Walmart, support it and SHOP local again, even if it IS a big chain store, will see that a Walmart, near a VERY busy 169, will bring value and dollars back where it is so badly needed (in a failing small business economy). Again, I am stressing that those of us who already have to drive to Walmart (and yes, shop there regularly) - would WELCOME the addition and do not classify ourselves by {namecalling} riff-raff, low life. The one in MG has proven that wrong, as has the addition of the very nice White Castle (also argued for the same bias brought up here).

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