downtown los angeles

Walmart Express Rumored to be Coming to Chinatown in Downtown LA

Walmart's new urban concept called "Walmart Express" is rumored to be looking in Chinatown in Downtown LA

Late last year, a source informed me that a new urban-Walmart concept called “Walmart Express” was looking to open one of its first West Coast locations somewhere in Downtown LA. This new urban concept would be a lot smaller than their usual big box locations that are as large as 185,000 square feet–try a mere 15,000 square feet according to the WSJ.

At first I thought it was going to go into the Woolworth Building on Broadway, which I knew was in the process of transferring ownership. I contacted Paragon Commercial Group in early January–the new owners of the Woolworth Building–to ask them if Walmart Express was going into their new acquisition, but they declined to comment. About two weeks later, Ross Dress For Less was announced to go into the Woolworth space so obviously that’s not where Walmart Express would go if they are looking downtown.

Now another source has pointed me in the direction of Chinatown. After a lot of looking around, I have a feeling Walmart Express may go into the 302-unit senior housing mixed-use complex located at Grand Ave and Cesar Chavez, which is on the fringe of Chinatown. According to earlier reports, the space was supposed to be a Rio Ranch Market, but the vacant space has sat dormant for years leading me to believe that’s probably not going to happen.

According to Racked Chicago, Walmart Express opened up their second location in Chicago offering “health and beauty, meat products, frozen food, produce, cat food, magazines and some impulse gift items.”

Another large big box retailer, Target, also has an urban concept called City Target, which is also opening in Downtown LA this October.

The second urban Walmart Express opened in Lakeview, Chicago in Nov 2011 (Photo: Racked Chicago)


  1. Illithid Dude says

    I hope not. A Wallmart would kill all the local businesses in Chinatown.

  2. raymond3000 says

    How about another 2 of these in Dt? Maybe the Arts district & City West area. It may work on Spring or Bway but I think they would work better within the underserved areas of DT more. So is Rio Ranch mkt. still coming or is that officially dead?

  3. dawnC says

    I’ve heard rumors that Fresh and Easy might be coming to the One Santa Fe project (or whatever it’s called now). I would prefer Trader Joe’s but I’m okay with Fresh and Easy. Even if it is a different concept I really don’t want to see the name “Walmart” associated with the Arts District. It’s fine in that area at the border of Chinatown where there isn’t much going on, but we have several Japanese markets near here that serve us. It would be disheartening to see that ultra suburban and trashy sounding brand opening in an area that is so uniquely and creatively urban.

  4. carter says

    Would guess this new Walmart, if it does arrive, will be placed nearer the Chinatown Gold Line Station, not on Cesar Chavez around Grand Avenue.
    Also, note this concept is small, unlike the larger versions in suburbia, and would probably carry staples, along with some meat, frozen food, etc. Cannot imagine the produce section being very large. I would think the chain drug stores should be more concerned about a Walmart arrival than the merchants in Chinatown.

  5. Blake Testa says

    I use to work at a walmart, walmart stores are horrible for any location they chose to be at in any city. They attract WAY TO MUCH TRAFFIC, shadey activity at night in their parking lots or anywhere around them, and are ideal places to deal drugs. Trust me, you DO NOT want a walmart in downtown LA. I live in downtown LA exactly next to the staples center, having a walmart near by WOULD BE THE WORST POSSIBLE IDEA! Walmart is first of all a white trash company that does not give a sh** about its surrounding areas wherever they choose to be at. They are horrible to their employees and city districts. Please do not let walmart put a new location in downtown LA. PLEASE!

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