With the news that infamous big box chain Wal*Mart is going to move into the former Home Depot Expo building we can now finally declare the city of Encinitas to be a neurotic mess.
One of the biggest cultural and economic changes to ever happen in the history of Encinitas was the complete rezone of the "New Encinitas" area from agriculture to the Target shopping center.
Target changed all of our lives forever. It shifted the El Camino emphasis away from Wiegand Plaza. Leucadia Blvd now connects all the way through. We got a spiffy golf course. We got Barnes and Noble, Stater Bros, places to eat, all kinds of stuff!
The Target center has been a big success despite the boring facades and some waste of space. Target just did a big remodel and if you've been there lately you've seen it was a success and the store is rocking.
Linens and Things didn't make it and remains vacant, but let's face it, that store was pointless.
The difference between Target and Wal*Mart may just be different marketing and merchandising approaches, but Target achieves a level of yuppie class that Wal*Mart just doesn't have.
Wal*Mart moving into town right across from Target is like getting a new fat drunk neighbor move onto your street who immediately lets the lawn die and works on that crappy old van in the driveway all the time and never wears a shirt.
Now, all the wannabee free market libertarians are tripping over themselves to defend Wal*Mart's right to exist and they would be correct, if only they would make the same free market arguments about strip clubs, adult book stores and marijuana dispensers in Encinitas.
Allowing Wal*Mart into a town that previously made a huge culture shift in building Target, borrowing $20 million for a classy library, forever changed downtown Hwy 101 with Pacific Station and Whole Foods, a city which is trying to dramatically rezone the El Camino Real commercial corridor , a city that does all these types of things and then welcomes a thing like Wal*Mart to slip in through the backdoor, these are actions of a town with no real direction, vision or leadership.
The Expo space should have become a multiplex movie theater. Our town of over 60,000 people want it, the theater chains were interested and it wouldn't have taken much for city leaders to encourage the Home Depot property owners to go in that direction.