Walmart pulls out of old CU campus site near Trader Joe's project most neighbors embrace

The celebration started late yesterday afternoon in the neighborhoods around Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, as news spread that Walmart had pulled out of the project that Jeff Fuqua plans to put in the old University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

If the timing had been a little different, they could have celebrated with a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck.

Yesterday, Walmart released this statement:

While Walmart will not be part of the planned redevelopment of the former University of Colorado Health Sciences campus, we will continue to evaluate other opportunities to serve Denver area customers and expand access to affordable groceries.
One of the ironies of this fight was that while neighbors were almost universally opposed to a Walmart going into the area, most have embraced the Trader Joe's that is being built just a block away, at Eighth and Colorado, on a piece of property that was originally going to be an upscale hotel. But that development does not involve tax-increment financing, unlike the CU project; the TIF deal was the reason that councilmembers Jeanne Robb and Mary Beth Susman announced their opposition to Fuqua's project three weeks ago.

And although Boulder is also getting a Trader Joe's, this Denver site is the one that will likely stock liquor, including the legendary Charles Shaw wine known as Two-Buck Chuck. (Under arcane Colorado laws, only one site of a multi-store operation can sell liquor.) The public hearing for a liquor-license at the Trader Joe's at 790 Colorado Boulevard is set for October 26 at the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses.

The CU site has been in flux for close to a decade, since the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center decided to move to a new campus in Aurora; the last occupants moved out in 2007. Fuqua is the third developer to attempt a project on the site. The next Colorado Boulevard Healthcare District meeting is set for November 1 -- without Walmart at the table.

But neighbors will be there.

And Do It Right at 9th, formerly known as Stop Wal-Mart Colorado, released this statement as the news spread yesterday.

We couldn't be more pleased. We are proud of the role played by concerned neighbors in communicating to City Council representatives that Wal-mart was not the right way to go at 9th and Colorado. It is a real victory for 'the little guy'. Councilwomen Susman and Robb were so responsive and helpful - we are deeply grateful. Now we can get down to working with the developer, the City and CU on a plan that works for the surrounding neighborhoods and is truly beneficial for all of East Denver."

Walmart or Trader Joe's? Explore that question in our recent list "Blue State v. Red State: Which Colorado do you live in?"

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I have been a shopper of Trader Joe's now for about 8 years. If you buy their brand, which many of the products are Trader Joes labeled, you will be paying same prices and get some organics  and Trader Joes items have no preservatives, dyes, hormones, pesticides, etc. It is only the unique hard to find elsewhere items that might be a little more expensive. I love TJ's, you can buy almost all necessities without having to look at 20 different kinds of the same item before deciding. A smaller store, so saves me time.

Even if items I paid were a little more , I would rather pay that now than later in medical bills caused by health problems from all the additives and crap in the food from Wal-mart or the regular store.


Trader Joe's offers healthier food and at the same price as WalMart. People need to stop believing that WalMart is cheaper for groceries. It is not. Unless you're buying junk. And the long-term costs of eating the junk that WalMart sells far outweighs the 5-10% more you may pay at a healthy market like Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's is not Whole Foods. I repeat, is NOT.


The "arcane Colorado laws" you mentioned, which prohibit chain stores from selling liquor from more than one location, are primarily responsible for the vibrant and diverse beer/wine/liquor choices consumers have in this state.


Those arcane laws have kept the big chains from running the little guys out of business.

Joktan Rogel
Joktan Rogel

@Austin There's nothing "snooty" about wanting to protect property values, as well as preserving the current way of life that exists in in the neighborhood. Bringing a store with the size and reputation of Walmart in such a relatively calm neighborhood comes with many negative consequences that far outweigh the benefits of low, low prices.

Austin Marie Richell
Austin Marie Richell

I think it's a little sad. There still is quite a few families in that area that may not be able to afford shopping at Trader Joes so now they still have to commute for grocery shopping, and their commutes are on bus. Also I've been to the Walmart Market on Parker Road and its a pretty nice shopping experience. That campus lot has so much space for many stores, don't like how snooty people have been about the whole thing.

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