Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wal-Mart Still Plans To Build Vallejo Store

Wal-Mart Still Plans To Build Vallejo Store
By SARAH ROHRS/Times-Herald staff writer
Article Launched: 01/23/2008

Wal-Mart is still committed to building a Vallejo supercenter, though officials cannot say when they will be ready to move forward with the project.

"We want to move forward, but we are looking at the costs in terms of the time it's taken to get to this to this point, and in terms of the costs of the EIR," said Wal-Mart senior public affairs manager Kevin Loscotoff.

Wal-Mart submitted plans in 2006 to build a two-story 393,000-square-foot Supercenter at the 12.45-acre parcel at Sonoma Boulevard and Redwood Street, the former K-Mart site.

However, the city is still waiting for Wal-Mart to sign an agreement to complete environmental and financial reports.

The environmental impact report is estimated to cost $639,000 which includes the financial studies.

Loscotoff said Wal-Mart is still finalizing its plans before launching into the EIR, which could take many months to complete.

City Development Services Director Brian Dolan said changes to the store's scope and design may be in the works.

He said Wal-Mart officials told him Tuesday morning that the company is committed to doing a project in Vallejo.

However, they added it would take until March 1 to figure out exactly what that project would be, Dolan said.

Meanwhile, Loscotoff said the company does not have a timeline for a decision on when it will proceed.

Vallejo lost its Wal-Mart in September when the retail giant closed its store in Meadows Plaza shopping center north of town, and opened its American Canyon Wal-Mart Supercenter on Highway 29.

The proposed Vallejo supercenter has a number of opponents fighting to keep it out of Vallejo. They say it will provide substandard jobs, hurt other retail establishments, and degrade the surrounding area.

Dolan said a meeting with Wal-Mart officials likely will be held in March to discuss the project's status. Loscotoff said he and city officials are in "constant communication" about the proposed store.

Last April, a divided City Council agreed to hire a firm to help process an environmental review.

The city hired a contract planner and was ready to hire an environmental consultant team last summer when Wal-Mart officials told staff they were not ready to proceed.

"It's not unusual to get proposals on an EIR and then evaluate on how you want to proceed," Loscotoff said.

In October, Wal-Mart announced it would take a moderate approach to building new supercenters in the United States. The company expects to open 195 supercenters this year, down 30 percent from the 281 opened during last fiscal year, according to a company announcement.

• Contact Sarah Rohrs at or 553-6832.

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