Walmart, outfitter complete deal over vacancy in Auburn

Walmart and Coastal Farm and Ranch have finished their purchase and sale agreement process, making Coastal's ownership of the old Walmart building and site at 1425 Supermall Way official Monday.

Coastal Farm & Ranch, one of the largest retail supply chains in the Pacific Northwest, last year signed a letter of intent to buy the former Walmart store property, which the retail giant vacated upon completion of its new superstore north of the Regal Auburn Stadium 17 theaters in 2010.

The City's Public Works Department already has issued Coastal's contractor a demolition permit. Demolition, which is expected to take three weeks, calls for removal of the brushed steel fascia and relocation of the entry door.

According to the Coastal Farm & Ranch website, the Albany, Ore.-based company offers clothing, hardware, tools, welding and automotive equipment, farm equipment, tack, feed and supplements at stores throughout Washington and Oregon, among them outlets in a former Walmart store in Mount Vernon and in Yakima and Wenatchee. It also carries western footwear and fashion brands, including boots from top manufacturers like Danner, Justin, Georgia, Double-H and LaCrosse.

Concerned that the vacant store would become derelict, City officials early last year threatened to revoke the new Walmart superstore's occupancy permit if Walmart failed to fulfill the obligations spelled out in a 2006 development agreement between it, Walmart and the SuperMall's owner, Glimcher Properties.

That agreement committed Walmart to finding a new tenant for the store within five years or to razing it and building new ones. The agreement also gave the City a choice of saying yes or no to any uses of the 150,000-square-foot building.

According to the City's letter, Walmart's sale of the site to Coastal constitutes its final compliance with the settlement agreement, if the deal closed by Jan. 30, 2012. But if the sale had fallen through, the City would consider Walmart in breach of the agreement and subject to payment of damages.

Walmart and the SuperMall's owner plan to work together to find places within the mall's $25 million expansion plans for some of the businesses that approached Walmart last year, asking about the empty store.

City leaders say they are also wrapping up their review of the tenant improvement permit package.

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