Super Wal-Mart nearing final hurdle


With its final plat approved, and nearly all development conditions met, national retail giant Wal-Mart has just one more step to complete before finalizing a land acquisition that would pave the way for a Supercenter in Craig.

"So far they have met or exceeded our requirements," said Dave Costa, Craig's community development director. "It's not four walls and a roof. It's got some architectural style."

Officials from Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., released this week architectural renderings of what the Craig store will look like. The building will be about 100,000 square feet in size.

The building, designed with an alpine theme, is consistent with the architecture found in downtown Craig and with current facelift projects such as the renovation at the Holiday Inn, Costa said.

Plans to build the Wal-Mart on a vacant lot north of Woodland Drive and east of Riverview Avenue have been in the works for more than a year. Costa said the store could be open by fall 2007.

At the July 25 Craig City Coun--cil meeting, Carl Schmidtlein with the engineering firm of Golloway, Romero and Associates received an extension until Sept. 23 to finish the final steps necessary for the purchase.

Final steps include a review of the parking and landscape plans, as well as depositing $1,068,481 into an escrow account with Northwest Title to insure the costs of infrastructure work for streets, curbs, sidewalks, storms, drains and a detention pond.

Wal-Mart was also required to pay the city $42,000 in lieu of having 6 percent of its property left as open space.

Costa said the space would not have benefited the residents of Craig as much as the money, which will go the Parks and Recreation Department for other projects across the city.

Costa said that in the required areas, Wal-Mart has exceeded the requirements.

"We required 5,988 square feet of landscaping, and they included 10,350 square feet in their plans," he said. "That includes trees, plants and shrubs."

Overall, the Wal-Mart landscape will feature 117 trees, 150 shrubs and 175 additional perennial flowering plants and ground covers.

"This is a big switch from what we've seen in the past (from local businesses)," Costa said about the additional landscaping.

Although not required, Wal-Mart is also planning to install a sound-attenuating fence on the north and south sides of West Drive, to help insulate residents from traffic noise.

Any outlying parcels of property will be seeded and temporarily irrigated to establish lawns.

A three-way traffic signal will be installed on U.S. Highway 40, near an entrance to the store. The Wal-Mart parking lot will have 499 parking spaces.

Plans show the Supercenter will contain a food center featuring produce, meat, deli and bakery departments. A one-hour photo shop and a pharmacy are also listed in Wal-Mart's development plans. A garden center also will be inside the building.

The building, at 99,704 square feet, is nearly equal to the Kmart in Craig.

The parking and landscaping plans will be presented to the planning and zoning committee on Aug. 21. The City Council should receive them at its meeting on Aug. 22, officials said.

"My recommendation is to approve their design," Costa said. "It's really well thought out and exceeds requirements."

He said that once all plans are approved and the money has been deposited, Wal-Mart can finalize the purchase of the property.

"We probably won't see construction begin until the spring of 2007," Costa said. "It can definitely be built by the fall of that year."

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