Following the announcement that Walmart would abandon plans to build a new superstore on a 43 acre plot of land off Route 37 near the Toms River-Manchester border, the owner of the site said it could still be developed with a new ratable that would bring jobs to the community.
The big box retailer announced this week it would end its 13 year-long battle against competitors and environmentalists who opposed its efforts to build a new store there. Walmart, whose expenditures in the long-running row included an army of attorneys, professionals and even a politically-connected public relations firm, cited “several business factors” for its decision.
“Although we no longer plan to build a new store in Toms River, we are committed to continuing our growth and investment in New Jersey,” Phillip Keene, Walmart spokesman, said.
The site is owned by Grunin Holdings, led by local developer Jay Grunin, who said in a statement Thursday that a new proposal for the site would soon be unveiled.
“We are confident that we will find another use for this property in the very near figure that will add jobs, services and ratables to our local economy,” the statement said.
Walmart faced resistance primarily from environmentalists, who opposed the project because of the purported presence of the endangered northern pine snake on the property. The Perlmutter family, which owns local Shop Rite stores, also put its weight behind the opposition since a newer, larger Walmart store would also have included a full supermarket.
Grunin said the site could support as much as 200,000 square feet of retail development.