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    Residents Object to Proposed Wal-Mart Downtown Miami Site

    Wal-Mart is heating things up in downtown Miami with plans to locate next to an upscale performing arts center.

    Although the deal isn't final yet, some residents are objecting to the big-box retailer occupying the high-profile location, which city leaders were hoping would be home to sophisticated restaurants and boutiques, according to a published account.

    If Wal-Mart chooses the downtown location, it wouldn't be the first big-box retailer to enter the redevelopment district. Target opened its midtown location in 2006. City Square, the retail development Wal-Mart would help anchor, is designed by a world-renowned firm with the goal of attracting big-box retailers in an ''elegant and pedestrian-friendly'' atmosphere. The potential downtown Wal-Mart wouldn't resemble its other south Florida stores.

    The downtown area is ''a predominantly underserved market,'' according to Wal-Mart spokeswoman Michelle Azel Belaire. The pricey location the store would occupy is only one block from the bay. Miami city commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who represents much of downtown, cringes at the thought of a ''Wal-Mart on the waterfront,'' according the Miami Herald.

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