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Commission OKs mall area development.

Wal-Mart, National Home Center Plan Expansions on U.S. 71B

The Fayetteville City Planning Commission has approved a large-scale development, expected to be a new Wal-Mart Supercenter, just south of the Northwest Arkansas Mall on U.S. Highway 71B.

The supercenter would be among several commercial developments for the Spring Park area. Clary Development Corp. of Little Rock is handling the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. project, while Development Consultants Inc. of Little Rock is proposing a new National Home Center location, a Ryan's Family Steak House and possibly a Dixie Cafe in the same area.

In a 6-1 vote, the Planning Commission approved the proposal for a 220,000-SF retail complex to be built south of Joyce Boulevard and west of Shiloh Drive. The lone vote against the project reflected concerns about additional traffic the development would bring to the area.

The development, which will be equipped with 1,200 parking spaces, will bring about 14,000 cars to the area daily. To help alleviate potential traffic problems, a tentative deal was reached for the city, state and Clary Development to pay for improvements at the intersection of Joyce and U.S. 71B.

Clary already has been assessed $25,000 to help pay for proposed off-site improvements, which include dual turning lanes, a U-turn lane and an extension of Joyce west to Gregg Avenue.

The retail complex, located on a 25-acre tract, is said by construction industry sources to be a new Wal-Mart Supercenter that would replace the retailer's Fiesta Square store.

A Wal-Mart official declined to confirm that the company is affiliated with the development, but the project was designed by a longtime Wal-Mart associate, CEI Engineering Inc. of Bentonville. Also, the plans are almost identical to those of a Wal-Mart Supercenter being built at the intersection of U.S. Highway 62 and Finger Road in southwest Fayetteville.

The Spring Park land is still owned by Clary, but that is expected to change within a few weeks because Wal-Mart did not close on the land purchase for the U.S. 62 store until plans were approved by the Planning Commission.

Development Consultants' plan for the area, approved previously by the commission, calls for a 150,000-SF National Home Center and a Ryan's Family Steak House to be built just east of the Wal-Mart site.

National Home purchased a 13.6-acre plot from Clary for $1.7 million earlier this year and later bought another 2.12 acres for $275,000 after expanding the original design for the building. This will be National Home's ninth store and largest to date. Lindsey Construction of Fayetteville will build the new store, which is expected to be completed in the spring of 1994 at a cost of $3.5 million-$4 million.

South Carolina-based Ryan's bought 2.62 acres for $400,000 from Clary for the new restaurant, which will be built by Venture Construction Co. of Georgia.

A Pier 1 Imports location was also part of the original plan by Development Consultants, but the retailer apparently has backed out of the project. Dixie Cafe is believed to be the replacement.

National Home will face stiff competition with its new location. A Lowe's Home Center is being built at the intersection of U.S. 71B and Zion Road directly east of the mall. The North Carolina-based company is building a 121,000-SF store on a 16.35-acre tract it purchased last year for 1.2 million. The store, intended to replace the much smaller Springdale location, is expected to be completed in early 1994.

National Home officials, whose Springdale-based company went public in May, do not seem concerned about Lowe's, which has more than 300 stores and a reported $3.8 billion in sales for 1992.

"We compete with Lowe's already in Springdale," says Brent Hanby, chief financial officer for National Home. "But over the last year or two, they've kind of rearranged their focus to more of a retail presence. This will be our largest store to date, and we think we're ready.

"It certainly doesn't hurt us being next to the new Wal-Mart store. The key is location, and we think we've got a good location. Lowe's is a big company and has more resources than we do, but we're pretty well-known around Arkansas and, of course, this is our home base up here in northwest Arkansas, so we'll do pretty well."
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Title Annotation:Fayetteville City Planning Commission
Author:Tobler, Christopher
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Sep 20, 1993
Words:730
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