Ten days after the most recent deadline, Lodi city officials say they're still waiting to hear from Wal-Mart on the future of a proposed 226,000-square-foot Supercenter.
Officials had expected direction from Wal-Mart on how and whether the project would go forward by the end of June.
"It's really up in the air … it's really up to them," Lodi Senior Planner David Morimoto said Thursday.
The retail and grocery store is proposed for the southwest corner of Kettleman Lane and Lower Sacramento Road.
It would anchor the 13-store, 40-acre Lodi Shopping Center.
The Lodi City Council approved the shopping center's plans in February 2005.
Later that year, however, a San Joaquin County Superior Court judge overturned the approval, ruling the project's environmental reports were insufficient.
The ruling followed a lawsuit by Stockton land-use attorney Steve Herum, on behalf of a group called Lodi First.
City officials have said they do not know what is holding up the project, though they've suggested requirements from the California Department of Transportation or perhaps the weak economy may be delaying progress.
Proposed Lodi Shopping Center at a glanceThe 13-building Lodi Shopping Center would be anchored by the 226,868-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter. It would include roughly 70,000 square feet for groceries.
The remaining stores would be of varying sizes. They would include a 35,000-square-foot retail store, three fast-food franchises, two sit-down restaurants and likely a pharmacy, a bank, and other retail or professional/business services companies.
Altogether, the shopping center would have 339,966 square feet of space for businesses.
Source: Draft revisions to Lodi Shopping Center Environmental Impact Report, released in October 2007 by city of Lodi
Lisa Balcom, a Caltrans spokeswoman, said late last month the agency has only one outstanding requirement for the project: a left hand turn-lane from Kettleman Lane to Westgate Drive, one of the shopping center's entrances.
Balcom said Thursday her agency has not heard back from Wal-Mart about the traffic matter.
A call to Wal-Mart's Central Valley spokesman, Aaron Rios, was not returned Thursday afternoon.
The Lodi council must approve revised environmental reports before the project can move forward. The city is awaiting a final draft of those revised reports from Wal-Mart and its consultants.
Once they are received, the city still must negotiate several conditions for approval with Wal-Mart and Darryl Browman, the project's developer.
The city will require the project to compensate for the loss of agricultural land and for the economic draw the store will have on other retail businesses in the city, Lodi Planning Manager Peter Pirnejad said in late June.
No such deals have been reached.
Along with city officials, local business leaders have begun to question the Supercenter's future.
"I think we have reason to wonder," said Mike Georguson, chair of the board of directors for the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, late last month. "They haven't given us any indication."
The chamber has supported the Supercenter, noting the project would boost Lodi's sales tax revenue.
Residents have been mixed. Many support the idea, saying a Supercenter will provide a new, inexpensive grocery option.
Others have said the store will drain business from Downtown, a place the city has spent millions of dollars to spruce up in recent years.