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Walmart still talking to city about Supercenter
The proposed Walmart Supercenter, as depicted by an architect. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

After a bruising nine-year battle over the approval of the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center and its anchor tenant of a Walmart Supercenter, the city has yet to see any submittal of building plans.

"We continue to have meetings and calls with the engineers who are working on improvements plans for the project," said Tom Westbrook, Community Development Director for the city of Ceres. "We know the architect is working on the building plans but as of yet, don't know when they will be submitting for building permits."

Westbrook said he is encouraged by the ongoing meetings and calls and hopes that the city will receive building plans and constructions documents in the coming months.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some time in the fall."

The Ceres City Council approved the project in 2011 but it immediately went to court after a group calling themselves Citizens for Ceres continued fighting the project. In December Walmart was cleared to proceed with construction of the 26-acre shopping center for the northwest corner of Service and Mitchell roads. The group, led by Sheri Jacobson, lost its second and final court fight to block construction of the center and its anchor tenant, Walmart Supercenter. When the state Supreme Court failed to hear the appeal of a lower court decision, the protesting group exhausted their legal options.

The Walmart Supercenter building itself is large - 185,668 square feet - but the shopping center also includes:

• Major retailer #2 - 28,000 square feet;

• Major retailer #3 - 13,500 square feet;

• Major retailer #4 - 14,000 square feet;
• Shop #1 - 12,200 square feet;

• Shop #2 - 11,700 square feet;

• Shop #3 - 7,000 square feet;

• Shop #4 - 8,500 square feet;

• Retail pad A - 3,250 square feet;

• Restaurant pad A - 3,250 square feet;

• Restaurant pad B - 3,000 square feet;

• Restaurant pad C - 4,000 square feet.

Grand total = 299,830 square feet.

Jacobson and her group fought the project since its inception, beginning with claims that the development of the vacant lot would rob wildlife of its habitat and protesting removal of a dilapidated building on the site. She and members of her group have lodged protests over planned store hours, architectural renderings, impacts on traffic, crime and air quality, plans to re-tenanting of the old store and claims that the new center would cause economic blight citywide.