Wal-Mart not coming to peninsula

Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2003

For anyone holding out hope of seeing Wal-Mart move to town, that hope now can be laid to rest.

Kenai Mayor John Williams announced in a city council meeting Wednesday that Wal-Mart will not be opening a store in Kenai.

"I had a final conversation with their office (Tuesday) morning. They said 'No, there is nothing on the horizon for the Kenai Peninsula,'" Williams said.

Ever since Kmart announced that the Kenai Big Kmart store would close its doors, Williams has been sending information to Wal-Mart to get the company interested in moving to the area.

He has been in direct contact with real-estate personnel for the company, he said.

Williams said Wal-Mart was not interested in the empty Big Kmart store, since there is a lease restriction on the building that limits the occupant to using 5 percent of the floor space to stock groceries.

The city of Kenai did offer to give the company a reasonable deal on a parcel of land, but that offer was turned down, Williams said.

The jury still is out on whether Home Depot will move into the Kmart building, however. On May 8, a group of Home Depot representatives visited Kenai to inspect the location. The company took a lease option on the building, which gives them until June 5 to make a decision on whether they will move in.

The city of Kenai took a financial blow to the tune of $800,000 in annual sales tax revenue when Big Kmart closed. City officials fervently hope another large sales-tax generator will open in town soon.

Also on Wednesday, the council:

Awarded a one-season lease, from June 1 to Sept. 30, of Kenai dock crane stations two and three to R & J Seafood for the seasonal base bid of $21,000, plus $0.03 per pound over 700,000 pounds.

Designated legal administrative assistant Sheryl Padilla as deputy city clerk.

Padilla will work in both departments, replacing the prior deputy city clerk position that was cut from the city's budget.

Approved assigning a lease for space nine in the Kenai Municipal Airport Terminal to Dorothy A. Fischer and her Alaska's Best Travel company.

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