Walmart defends Chinatown store project as groups file lawsuit

Chinatown Walmart

Grant Slater/KPCC

The interior construction site of Walmart's new market on the edge of Chinatown at Grand and Cesar Chavez avenues.

Walmart is defending its grocery store project in downtown L.A. as opponents seek to block it in the courts. 

The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and the Southeast Asian Community Alliance filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles Thursday.  The groups argue city planners didn’t meet with the public before they issued permits allowing Walmart to build a grocery store and pharmacy in Chinatown.

Walmart says the store will bring in dozens of jobs, and that area groups and businesses support the plan.  A spokesman denies accusations that Walmart pays “poverty wages.”

Opponents of Walmart's plan are worried that the store will  squeeze out small businesses in the Chinatown area.

Late last year, a Superior Court judge dismissed an attempt by labor groups to stop the project.

"Special interest attempts to block our store have not only been without merit but also proven to be a waste of time and resources," Walmart said in a statement.

Construction crews have started work on the 33,000-square-foot store at Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues.

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