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Letters to the Editor published June 29, 2011
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Walmart will not distract from current business

Editor, Ceres Courier,

Estabishment of the Mitchell Ranch Development will provide an architectural attraction at our city's south entrance. The development will be a compliment equal to the city of Ceres. Walmart, alone at the Mitchell/Highway 99 intersection will create a "destination" for the smaller, adjacent towns east, west and even south of Ceres. I believe there are many Turlock citizens who will welcome this development within their range of shopping that Turlock chose not to provide.

A high-rise office building or hotel is never going to happen at this location.

Kudos to Jeff Benziger's editorial (Ceres Courier June 8), it was on the mark. At this time of economic stress I say to Walmart "build it"; put local people to work to build it, put more people to work to operate it and reap the added sales income for out City.

The adjacent, commercial zoned open land will become an attraction for other stores such as Lowe's, Medical facilities and maybe a theatre.

A new Walmart will not distract from current business any more than the Hatch Road location has previously. In fact I believe geographically other existing businesses on Whitmore and Hatch may benefit by this new development.

Traffic? In a short time issues will resolve. At the same time I would expect some traffic relief at Mitchell and Hatch. Without the current Walmart a traffic signal could be eliminated between Food-4-Less and Walmart. leave the Mitchell/Hatch intersection for trucks the overwhelm it now, it is like waiting for trains.

The existing Walmart building, with some imagination, could be modified to a mini mall. The existing store entrance opening to a promenade accessing interior small independent shops and businesses as specialities such as jewelry, hobbies, candy sports (cater to the Golf and Soccer facilities which exist across Hatch Rd). There are many possibilities. Fast foods - McDonald - could remain as it exists now along with popular others.

Yes, Ceres now is the time for approval for this attractive development. How much longer are we willing to wait for a comparable (other) development to replace the ever growing weeds? Nothing better could replace this well planned destination in many of our life times.

W.E. Gard


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City can't force Walmart to lease to foes

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I am very concerned that some members of the Ceres City Council are posed to deny the new Walmart shopping center if the company does not lift its tenant restrictions on its existing property. As the owner of a Ceres retail shopping center, I can make a strong case these demands are not just unnecessary, but legally questionable and will face opposition from property owners if such limitations on private property are applied to them too.

I know from experience that when a retail property owner vacates their property it is very common to place restrictions on the new owner such a limiting buyers from selling or leasing the property to their competitors. It is not that they fear competition so much as that they don't want to subsidize their competitor's entry into the marketplace.

For example, look at Walmart's experience in Ceres so far. The company has been working ont their relocation plan for some three years, certainly costing millions of dollars for a planning process that has become highly politicized by project opponents. A retailer will avoid this painful experience by all means and one can do so by simply renovating an existing building, saving millions of dollars. This is why several former Circuit City, Mervyn's and Gottschalks stores in the area are no longer vacant today.

Legally, I don't think the city can prohibit Walmart from imposing tenant restrictions on their property, without applying the same limitations on other business property owners. Our legal system is based on fairness and equal protection and rules should apply to all and not some. f the council is serious about this move, then they need to first hold public hearings on how such a policy would be applied to all Ceres property owners and consider whether such policies will discourage other retailers from locating in Ceres.

What impact will it have on property values and job creation? Only after gathering input from all Ceres business property owners can the council truly consider the merits of applying such a policy to all businesses, including Walmart.

Not only is what is being asked of Walmart troubling, but it is also not necessary. Walmart clearly has a superb record of tenanting their former stores and in fact, no vacant stores exist in California today. Their tenant restrictions would not prohibit Kohl's, Bass Pro Shop, among other quality tenants from purchasing the property. It will prohibit another grocery store, but this should please Save Mart and Food-4-Less who are trying to convince the city council that they cannot withstand any further competition.

While this demand of Walmart may well be intended, it certainly invites unintended consequences. Moreover, it does not contribute to the more important topic of how can Ceres provide an inviting business environment for retailers, as well as create jobs, and more revenue for critical public services. If the council gets stuck in this senseless debate, major retailers will continue to view Turlock and Modesto as a more inviting regional reatail destination for new store development and job creation.

With one of the highest unemployment rate in the County, it is time for the City Council to approve the Walmart project, and with great haste.

Mike Singh


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Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters may be sent to The Ceres Courier, P.O. Box 7, Ceres, CA 95307, or emailed to