Inside Payne Auditorium Wednesday, residents and local community leaders had their first look at the architectural drawings of the
If it all goes to plan, the city's oldest shopping center will be demolished to make way for a Walmart Supercenter.
Walmart is proposing a 24-hour, 98,000-square-foot store to replace the Ringling Shopping Center that includes a and several stores that are due to leave the shopping center empty.
Walmart officials addressed a wide arrange of topics ranging from access to Payne Park, working with local businesses and delivery truck traffic.
"The same amount of deliveries that Publix, Ace Hardware and everybody else in that strip mall receives would not be even close to what we anticipate receiving," said Michelle Belaire, Walmart's senior manager of public affairs and government relations.
Belaire added that Supercenters that are larger than what Walmart proposes on Ringling receive up to four trucks a day.
Officials say construction would take a year, and the targeted opening date is in 2014. When open, as many as 250 to 300 people would be hired.
The architect of the store says he's focusing on making the store shorter and smaller.
"The tower elements used to get up in the 45- to 55-foot range," said Michael Blinn of BRR Architecture. "We're only at 27 feet here. We've cut that in half. We've tried to bring in an urbanism feel with an all-glass entry."
One resident who lives adjacent to the proposed Walmart doesn't agree with the architecture's choice.
"What Walmart is selling, I'm not buying," resident Randall Labolle told Patch. "They're saying its an urbanist concept, and there's absolutely no urbanist principles associated with the construction of this property. They're literally just downsizing a Walmart and shoving it in the middle of a parking lot and telling us it's urban. How?"
While Walmart continues to plan for a new supercenter, officials broke some news about the .
The grand opening will be Wednesday, Sept. 19, said store manager Jeffrey Douglas.
Belaire said because of the voluntary meetings with neighborhood groups and Wednesday meetings, the company has delayed its application to the City of Sarasota.
The Planning Board would have to approve Walmart's plans before it could demolish the store and build.