Patrick Smith, Jason Bussdieker and Andrew Lee conduct core-sample drilling Wednesday on the heavily wooded plot of land where builders plan to construct a Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse store. The core samples will give builders an indication of what they'll find once the trees have been removed.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The absence of large earth-moving equipment and land clearing work might appear to some that plans for a new Lowe’s home improvement store and a Wal-Mart Super Center coming to Kenai have stalled, but all remains on track according to city administration.
City Manager Rick Koch said Tuesday both retailers are expected to begin construction as early as next spring.
“Lowe’s is punching holes in the ground right now,” Koch said, meaning the developer doing work for Lowe’s is doing geotechnical work at the 15-acre site along Marathon Road.
In January the home im-provement retailer applied for a lease of Kenai city land and announced plans to build a 139,000-square-foot store and 32,000-square-foot garden center across the road from a planned Wal-Mart store.
Wal-Mart wants to build a 235,000-square-foot combination grocery and general merchandise store on 37 acres of airport property behind the Kenai Chrysler Center.
Preliminary work has begun for a Lowe's that will be built here on 15 acres between Homer Electric Association and the King's Inn Motel alongside Marathon Road in Kenai.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
“Both have lease applications filed with the city and have a year to perform due diligence (work),” Koch said.
The preliminary work includes geotechnical investigation, environmental assessment and wetland determination, he said.
At the end of the one year, the leases become effective and the companies will be required to provide property development schedules to the city.
Both stores are being developed by Lounsbury and Associates Inc. of Wasilla.
“Tom Adams (Lounsbury representative) and I talk at least once a week,” Koch said. “Everything’s on track.”
Koch said he also is in continual contact with Lowe’s director of real estate for its western region.
Construction work is expected to begin next year and, according to Koch, will proceed quickly once it begins.
“They’ll want to be in those stores as soon as they can,” he said.
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