Business

Wal-Mart begins work on mega-store project at Supermall

Wal-Mart has begun initial work on its 201,000-square-foot super store project north and west of the Regal Cinemas.

But don't expect to see any actual construction going on at the site before next spring.

Andy Epstein, an engineer with Architects BCRA, the Tacoma-based firm that is handling civil engineering and architecture on the project, said the first of two phases of work began this summer with off-site preparation, in particular the rerouting of Supermall Way.

The second phase, which is concerned with actual construction, is scheduled to begin by May 2009. The new store should open by early 2010.

"The project is complicated in that it involves some land swapping, so (in the first phase) they are replacing some of the parking for the SuperMall and theaters," Epstein explained.

The mega store will combine general merchandise with full-line grocery items.

As part of the tri-party contract between the SuperMall's owner, Glimcher, Wal-Mart, and the City of Auburn, the city required Wal-Mart to build its new store under the original SuperMall development agreement. Part of that agreement specifies that within six months of the completion of the new store, Wal-Mart must demolish its old store.

"The city was concerned that the old building would be left empty," said Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis. "The agreement goes on to say that either Wal-Mart or Glimcher would then have to construct a series of new buildings to replace that old facility, and that there would be at least three new restaurants. It says there must be stores in that area between Wendy's and the SuperMall."

"There was concern on the City Council's part that Wal-Mart would abandon the other store and not fill it, as they have done in other areas so competition would not move in," said City Councilwoman Sue Singer.

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