Construction starts for some, done for others

Posted: Friday, November 14, 2008

As some central Kenai Peninsula workers are just beginning to move dirt, others are busy stocking some 32,000 retail items bringing to an end one of several major construction projects.

Photo By  M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Lowe's Home Improvement Center in Kenai is one of the larger construction projects finishing up this season.

Front-end loaders and track-hoes this week began pushing dirt across from Big John's Tesoro gas station in Sterling preparing the 5-acre site for a new Lynden Transport office and dock. The land formerly sported a personal property storage building.

The new facility will include a 45- by 94-foot office building and cross dock, according to general contractor Dylan Bales of SR Bales Construction Inc.

Bales said the cross dock allows for loading and unloading tractor trailer trucks from both sides of the building. The facility also will have a scale for weighing trucks as well as a truck yard of just under 5 acres, he said.

The Lynden facility is to be completed by May 15 next year.

While that job is just getting under way, workers at the new Lowe's Home Improvement Center in Kenai are stocking shelves in anticipation of a Nov. 22 opening.

A company Web site lists the official store opening as 6 a.m. that Saturday.

The store with 94,000 square feet of retail space with an adjacent garden center represents an approximate $12 million investment, according to the site, creating up to 120 new jobs.

Directly across Marathon Road from the Lowe's store, earth-moving equipment is readying the ground for a 210,799 square-foot Wal-Mart store behind Stanley Chrysler.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Jennifer Spall said, "It's my understanding they're just going to clear the land and get it ready for winter. The actual building of the store will begin next spring."

She said Wal-Mart typically needs nine to 12 months to build a store and three months to outfit it.

Because the construction plan is weather dependent, Spall said she is reluctant to give any dates for completion or store opening.

"Alaska weather is hard to predict. We've already slipped (on) some dates," she said.

The store is to include general merchandise and a food supermarket.

Another Kenai project nearing completion is the Kenai Courthouse addition, which will add three courtrooms, bringing the total to seven.

Clerk of Court Deirdre Cheek said Thursday the new addition is to open sometime in mid-December.

Workers are doing finishing work inside the building installing stone floor tile and solid wood wall panels.

According to Cheek, no additional judges are anticipated for the Kenai court.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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