Wal-Mart considering 'super center' on Anchorage's south side

Posted: Wednesday, February 28, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Wal-Mart is looking at whether to close its South Anchorage store and replace it with a much larger one, according to a traffic study submitted to the city and state.

If the retailer moves ahead with the 208,000-square-foot store at Abbott Road, it won't face some delays that have stalled other big-box store developments. That's because the 26-acre site already is zoned to allow retail development.

Anchorage-based Rock Partners owns the Wal-Mart site. Dave Deans, who represents the real estate investment firm, declined comment Tuesday, and a Wal-Mart spokeswoman could not confirm whether her company was looking at the site.

But a draft traffic study done by the Arkansas-based chain's Alaska consultant, DOWL Engineers, spells out Wal-Mart's proposal.

The ''super center'' would be up to 54,000 square feet larger than Wal-Mart's current location on the Old Seward Highway, and it ultimately would replace that store, the study said.

Wal-Mart owns the land and building at the current location, according to the city, which last year assessed the site at $12.6 million.

Construction on the new store could start this spring, with it opening next year.

The Abbott Road store would become the first Wal-Mart in Alaska also to be a supermarket. Wal-Mart also has stores in the city's midtown and at Eagle River, Wasilla and Kodiak.

''This thing is very preliminary,'' said Mel Nichols, president of DOWL, stressing that Wal-Mart has not made a final decision and the details could change.

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