With the steel support structure taking shape at the site of the new Wal-Mart store in Kenai, passersby are having an easier time conceptualizing what the long anticipated giant retail facility is going to look like when done.
"The steel structure is up pretty much," said Mark Pollock, Roger Hickel Contracting site supervisor, adding that the company "hopefully will be closed in sometime before winter, for sure."
Workers began pouring cement for the store last fall, but stopped pouring in November, Pollock said. Alaska winters present frost and frozen material problems to builders he said.
"You can pour in freezing weather, but you shouldn't," Pollock said.
Wal-Mart plans to open a store of 210,799 square feet including general retail and groceries.
The size was scaled down some from the originally announced size of 235,000 square feet, and gone from the conceptual plan is a six-bay tire and lube express shop and gas station, but four "out lots" that could accommodate those amenities remain on the plan.
A garden center will wrap around the northwest corner of the building and space inside is earmarked for a Subway eatery, according to the engineering plans.
The property is to be landscaped with Colorado green spruce, Siberian larch, paper birch, Canada red chokecherry and columnar Swedish aspen trees, as well as assorted shrubs.
Tom Adams, a representative for Lounsbury and Associates Inc. of Wasilla, the engineering firm developing the project, said his firm is now "working on the parking lot and some other utilities. We're right on schedule."
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said, "We plan to grand open in the spring 2010.
"Construction is going smoothly; we haven't run into any roadblocks," said Kari Anne Fallow, a public relations manager for the big retailer.
Adams said the store is expected to open in March.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at email@example.com.
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