Construction could start on a new Walmart Supercenter in Lodi as early as next spring.
On Thursday, the California Supreme Court decided to not take up the Walmart case, finally ending an 8-year legal battle.
The city has met with developer Browman Development and engineers about the plans for the project, city manager Rad Bartlam said. He expects the building plans to be submitted by the end of the calendar year, and construction to start in the spring.
The Walmart Supercenter will go into a 13-building, 340,000-square-foot project called the Lodi Shopping Center. It is planned for the southwest corner of the Kettleman Lane and Lower Sacramento Road intersection. The actual Walmart store will be 225,000 square-feet.
Wal-Mart media director Della Garcia said customers are ready for a Lodi Supercenter.
"The ruling is good news for our Lodi customers who are eager to have the convenience of one-stop shopping for general merchandise and grocery," Garcia said.
For the last eight years, the city has dealt with legal challenges since the project was first approved.
Lodi First and Citizens for Open Government argued in their lawsuits that the project's state-mandated environmental documents were not adequate, specifically the portion on global warming and mitigation measures for the loss of agriculture land.
In 2005, San Joaquin County Judge Elizabeth Humphreys ruled the project's environmental reports needed more studies, which restarted the approval process. This forced Wal-Mart to again go before the Planning Commission and the Lodi City Council.
Then the case went through the court process again with Humphreys ruling the documentation was adequate. The decision was appealed to the Third District Court of Appeals, who again ruled the documents were valid.
With the California Supreme Court refusing to hear the case, the project can officially move forward.
One of the main stipulations in the city's approvals is that the Walmart Supercenter will not be allowed to open until Browman finds a solution for their former building across the street, Bartlam said.
"We will not allow Walmart to occupy the new building until a tenant is in place or he tears the building down," Bartlam said.