Walmart Coming – Maybe

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By David Meade

Although it has not been officially announced by Walmart, there are indications that Walmart store 6886 is coming to Williamston. The store number and location have appeared on various websites and other locations since rumors of a store coming began circulating in 2012.

This week local officials are confirming that a project may be moving forward and that preliminary planning for a Walmart store has been in the works for more than two years.

According to sources close to the unofficially announced project, a legal issue involving one of the property owners where the rumored Walmart will locate and Fred’s store has been the holdup on the project. That issue has recently been settled in court.

Williamston Mayor Mack Durham apparently confirmed that when he announced Tuesday night that Williamston may be getting a Walmart store.

Durham made the announcement during a meeting of the Envision Williamston Board of Directors and posted the following statement on the Envision Williamston Facebook page:

“I have just recieved a call confirming that a judgement decision has been made in favor of local property owners involved in the Walmart development project. This should mean that Walmart will be coming to Williamston!”

Williamston Public Works Department Head David Rogers confirmed Wednesday that he and Mayor Mack Durham have met with several different people on different occassions since February of 2012 to discuss lighting, signage and other details of the project.

Rogers said he has also been in the field doing water flow studies with subcontractors. Rogers said he has been in contact with developers this week and was told that Walmart is still interested in the Williamston location.

Rogers said the town also has plans for a Walmart store which is proposed to be located on Roberts Boulevard and SC Hwy. 20.

The site includes four tracts of property annexed by the town and zoned commercial in 2013.

Two of the tracts are approximately 10.8 acres while the other two tracts are approximately 17.38 acres.

As of this week, records show the four tracts of property at the site location have not been sold or transferred to Walmart.

In July of 2013, The Journal reported that surveying was going on at property off Roberts Blvd. between the Lander Library and Palmetto Softball fields. At that time surveyors were confirming they were doing the survey for Walmart.

Also numerous “officials” said at the time they were told or are telling others that the rumors about Walmart were true.

In Feb. of 2014, The Journal reported that a website that caters to builders, contractors and others in the construction and building industry confirmed that bidding for a project may be possible in February or March of that year.

According to the website, a new Shopping Center or Retail project with an estimated value of $9,691,000 is in the works.

The site stated the location for the 155,000 square foot project as East Greenville Drive and Roberts Blvd. in Williamston. The location matches the address for property that was annexed by the Town of Williamston and zoned for commercial use.

General project information on the site listing stated there will be a Retail Sales Floor, Grocery Store, Pharmacy, Garden Center, Auto Center, Deli, Offices, Stockrooms, Restrooms and Parking Lot.

In addition to a list of building, construction and other related items necessary for new construction, the preliminary bid information also called for site clearing, traffic signals, manholes and other structures. Bid will be by invitation only.

According to an Architect Note, the Construction Document was in the design stage with bidding possible in February or March 2014.

The owner was listed as Walmart Corporation, 701 South Walton Blvd., Bentonville, Arkansas.

That same year, a Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) stormwater construction permitting application was made by Walmart Real Estate Business Trust. The application was made on Dec. 30, 2013 and was approved by DHEC on March 7, 2014.

In a related matter, an announced Walmart store in Honea Path fell through last year before construction began.