WASHINGTON — With its own police department, Walmart’s new home park will be much different from the one where former mayor Gregor Robertson first ran.
Instead, Walmart is moving forward with a different type of development: a residential, mixed-use complex.
And that’s what the city is hoping to see with the new Walmarts Walmart Park in a few years time.
The park is set to be a “living museum” with a big screen TV, and will feature a library, a cafe, a grocery store and other amenities for the neighbourhood, according to a press release.
The project is being funded by the US government’s urban development block grant program, which gives local governments the option to put up new development projects that benefit the community.
“Walmart Park is a unique opportunity to bring a fresh approach to urban revitalization,” said David L. Czuchry, executive director of the Urban Development Corporation of Canada.
“It’s going to be very much a public-private partnership that we’ve been seeing for a number of years.
It’s going be a living museum.”
The park, on the site of a former steel mill, is being built with federal funds and has been awarded $40 million in the 2017 Block Grant program.
It will include 1,200 residential units, a retail mall, a restaurant and other facilities.
Walmart will be one of the major beneficiaries of the project, said Cathy MacGregor, who oversees the city’s development office.
“We want to see Walmart Park become a place where the community can come together and connect with other people and really be engaged with each other and with the community,” she said.
“It’s very exciting to see this project coming to fruition.”
The development is being led by the city of Regina’s Planning, Growth and Development department.
It will include more than 300 rental units and apartments, and a hotel and other public spaces.
The site was once part of a massive steel mill that closed in 1999, leaving behind a cluster of former industrial buildings that were built in the 1960s.
It was then turned into a Walmart store.
The property has been home to a number parks before, including the Regina’s Zoo and a museum.
Walton, who served as mayor from 2010 to 2016, has been a vocal critic of the development, calling it a “sham” project.
He called it a bad deal for the community and said it would be an opportunity for Walmart to dump the old steel mill and build a shopping mall instead.
“You’re going to see a whole lot of new retail and residential space,” he said in a 2015 interview with CBC.
“You’re getting a lot of development going on.
You’re getting development that’s going on outside of the community.”
He said that Walmart would use the park as a public space to advertise its own products.
The development was approved by Regina City Council in January and is expected to open to the public in 2021.