Walmart not coming to Monroe

Trumbull will not have a Walmart on its northern border after all.

John Kimball of Monroe-based developer Kimball Landing Holdings LLC released a statement Thursday saying that Walmart officials informed his office that it has “decided to no longer pursue building a Walmart Supercenter store” off Victoria Drive in Monroe.

“We want to thank the volunteer boards and commissions, town staff, town leaders and the community at large for their support in helping us move this project forward,” stated Kimball in the release. “We are disappointed with the decision knowing how hard both parties have worked to obtain all the necessary approvals and permits.”

Kimball stated that all parties appreciate the support, saying “we are now turning our focus and efforts to assessing options and alternatives for the development of our property.”

Phillip Keene, Walmart director of corporate communications, State and Local Corporate Initiatives and Public Affairs, Northeast/Southeast/Mid-Atlantic Divisions, confirmed his company’s decision on Friday.

“At Walmart, we are focused on investing in new ways to serve our customers through innovative in-store and online offerings, by improving our existing stores and investing in associate training in order to provide superior customer service,” said Keene. “With that in mind, after rigorous review, and consideration of several business factors, we have made the difficult decision not to move forward with building a new Walmart store in Monroe.”

Keene said the Walmart corporation remains “grateful for the support and professionalism of Monroe public officials while we worked through the development process.

“Although we no longer plan to build a new store in Monroe,” added Keene, “we are committed to continuing our investment in Connecticut. We operate more than 35 retail locations in Connecticut and have invested millions across the state this year by remodeling six locations.”

Kimball could not comment on why Walmart executives chose to pull out of Monroe but did say, “We have a fully approved site with a building permit in place which is an exceptional opportunity for a new tenant to fast track the development process."

Only weeks ago, Kimball told the Trumbull Times’ sister newspaper, The Monroe Courier that all the permits were in place and a final sign-off from Walmart executives was all that remained. Once that was received, Kimball had said, groundbreaking on the 150,000-square-foot Walmart superstore could begin.

Now, after several years of dealing with state and local boards and commissions, obtaining all the necessary permits and even fighting a legal challenge from neighboring property owners, the future of the vacant space off Victoria Drive shifts into limbo.

Once the Walmart was completed, Kimball had stated, his adjacent project, The Shops at Victoria Place, a plaza with nearly 100,000 square feet of retail planned right along Main Street, or Route 25, would be expected to open a year after Walmart opened its doors.

As for the retail plaza, Kimball has stated he hopes to fill the spaces with small shops, restaurants and clothing or craft stores. He expected the development’s tenants to range in size from 1,000 up to 30,000 square feet. Kimball said that the front parcel for the shops at Victoria Place is on hold until a new anchor for the site is found.