In a nearly unanimous vote Nov. 22, the Baltimore City Council approved an 11-acre development project that will bring Wal-Mart and Lowe’s to North Baltimore.
The 25th Street Station project, which will be constructed on the site of Anderson Automotive on West 25th and Howard Streets, passed the council in a 14-1 vote. Councilman Carl Stokes (D-12th) abstained.
In addition to the planned 33,000-square-foot Wal-Mart, the new shopping complex will house multiple specialty shops, restaurants and 70 to 90 apartments.
Zoning bill sponsor Councilwoman Belinda Conaway (D-7th) claimed (can we change to “says”) the project will boost Baltimore’s economy and create over 1,000 temporary and permanent jobs, but the project has struck a nerve with some Remington residents who live near the proposed site.
Opponents of the measure (“Many of those contesters”) rallied outside City Hall the night of the vote, demanding (add “that”) city officials force Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to pay its workers what they call a living wage of $10.59 per hour instead of a $7.25 minimum wage. The amount of the living wage rate stems from a stalled bill introduced by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke (D-14th) last spring.
Conaway told the AFRO she is a supporter of the living wage and negotiated the option with Wal-Mart officials. They agreed to pay a higher wage, but not that living wage amount, she said. But in exchange for the higher wage, they wanted Conaway to withdraw her support for the Clark proposed legislation, an offer she refused.
The councilwoman added that as a whole, the Remington community welcomes the plan.
“There is overwhelming support in our district because in terms of retail, the area is underserved,” she said. “I’m happy the development project will be under way instead of having 11 acres of vacant land.”
“Though a lot of those opposing this measure would not accept any compromise, I made sure that the people of my district and the neighbors of this Remington complex were satisfied and served to the best of my abilities at the end of the day,” said Conaway on the floor after the bill’s passage.
Construction is slated to begin next spring. Once operational, the 25th Street Station facility will be the city’s second Wal-Mart. The other store is located in Port Covington.