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City Walmart wants to be open 24 hours a day

Operators of the Walmart store proposed for Baltimore's Remington area want to keep it open 24 hours a day, a representative for the development team said at a community meeting Monday.

Jon Laria, an attorney representing the $65 million 25th Street Station project planned for Howard and 25th streets, told a meeting of the Hampden Community Council that the development team is in the final stages of drafting City Council legislation that would permit construction of the development. Part of the proposed legislation would allow retail tenants to stay open 24 hours a day.

The legislation is expected to be introduced Monday by City Councilwoman Belinda K. Conaway. Laria saidWalmart is the only retailer in the project that has expressed an interest in remaining open around the clock.

Joan Floyd, president of the Remington Neighborhood Alliance, asked Laria whether the developers have consulted with the city Police Department about the proposed hours of operation. "Do they have the capacity to deal with a big-box development on that site?" she asked.

Floyd said the hours of operation are likely to be an issue with the community. "It's going to raise some new concerns," she said. "We're going to have to see how this plays out."

The 11.5-acre site is occupied by Anderson Automotive, a car dealership that is consolidating its operations in Baltimore County. The legislation would permit the car dealership to be replaced with about 320,000 square feet of retail space, including Baltimore's first Lowe's Home Center and second Walmart, as well as 85 residences and 1,050 parking spaces. The developer is WV Urban Developments LLC, headed by Rick Walker. The project is expected to open by late 2011 and create 750 jobs, if the City Council agrees to rezone the property.

Laria said the legislation is being drafted to reflect what the tenants tell the development team they need to operate successfully. "We don't get to decide that. That's what the retailer wants," he said. "There are people who think that a 24-hour operation is better because you have people there all the time."

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