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Super news for local Wal-Mart shoppers

Groundbreaking on Wal-Mart’s newest Supercenter takes place next month, with a scheduled opening of June 2004.

Mayor Dexter McLendon said the new store should open on June 15 with a 145,000 square foot building off Cahaba Road.

&uot;If all goes according to schedule, they will have it ready by then,&uot; McLendon said.

McLendon said local concerns about extra costs associated with the project are void.

He said the discount chain giant would pay its own way.

&uot;The city will spend $600,000 to build an access road from Cahaba Road to Manningham Road,&uot; he said. &uot;That includes installing water and sewage lines to the property and drainage for the road, and the construction and paving of the access road. All that money will be recouped by city with the sales taxes that will be collected from the store.&uot;

Wal-Mart has guaranteed the city at least $300,000 in sales taxes per year.

&uot;If, for some reason, the store’s sales taxes do not reach $300,000 in any year, Wal-Mart will pay the city the difference.&uot;

The City Council approved a loan in June to fund the access road project.

Most area residents don’t seem to be concerned about the details or the cost involved in opening the megastore, they just want it to hurry up and get here.

&uot;I think it’s great that we’re getting a Super Wal-Mart; we need it,&uot; Murlin Irons said. &uot;We’ll have a lot more variety. They don’t carry many of the things here that you see in other Wal-Marts in Montgomery. I’m very excited about it.&uot;

Shopper Jennifer Burkett is anxious for the discount chain’s grocery store to be available in town.

&uot;I feel absolutely fabulous about a Wal-Mart Supercenter coming to Greenville,&uot; she said. &uot;I can’t wait. I shop their grocery stores a lot in other towns, so it will be great to have one here.&uot;

For others, having a one-stop shopping place is what they like.

&uot;I see a lot of things in other stores that they don’t have here,&uot; Sandra Medley said. &uot;If I want a particular item, I have to go to Montgomery or Troy to get it. I’m a very big Wal-Mart shopper, and with the new center, I’ll be able to do all of my shopping in one place – grocery shopping and everything.&uot;

Debbie Beverly said that the plus for the Supercenter would be the myriad small stores included in the larger one.

&uot;Most of the Super Wal-Marts I shop have one-hour photos, dry cleaners, portrait studios, optical stores and hair or nail salons,&uot; she said. &uot;It will be a lot better to be able to do all of your shopping in one store.&uot;

With the opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter, attention will be diverted to the current Wal-Mart building and the much-anticipated Nova Cinetech movie theater, which is lined up to take Wal-Mart’s place in the Interstate plaza building.

McLendon said to accommodate the movie company’s entrance to our community, the city will set up a cooperative district board that will lease the building from the Wal-Mart corporation, and then sublease the building to Nova.

&uot;The cooperative district board will be made up of people from several community organizations, and will be responsible for handling the movie theater transactions, and the transactions with any other companies that could go into that building along with the movie theater,&uot; the mayor said.

As for now

He pointed out that right now nothing firm can be negotiated with the movie theater because the city doesn’t have access to the property.

&uot;We have a letter of intent from the company saying they will come,&uot; he said. &uot;But until Wal-Mart moves out of the building, we can’t do anything. We won’t know when they can move in until Wal-Mart moves out, then it will take at least six or eight months after Wal-Mart vacates before you can get anyone else in.&uot;

Specifics are scarce right now, McLendon said, because many things depend on events that will take place later in the year.

For example, leasing costs for the Wal-Mart building can’t be decided until the cooperative district board is set up and negotiations on the lease take place.

The only additional cost to what has been reported on the project will be the cost of installing the streetlights along the new access road, but again, those costs haven’t been determined.