Fourth Walmart Supercenter in the works

Published on Sunday, 20 April 2014 20:38 - Written by Casey Murphy, cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

 

Don Simmons has been working for more than a year to bring a Walmart Supercenter to the east side of Tyler.

Simmons, of Simmons Real Estate, said he believes they are getting close to a deal and expects the purchase of 18.75 acres at the intersection of Texas Highway 31 East and Loop 323 to be finalized around June 1, he said. Simmons is the broker on the deal, representing the land owners, and is also co-owner of the development.

Anne Hatfield, director of communications for Walmart, said they plan to open the Walmart Supercenter there in spring 2016.

“We always plan our stores because that’s where the customers tell us we need to be,” she said of why Walmart is coming to the east side of town. “What we’re finding is that the customers tell us … when it’s time to build another store.”

Although Tyler already has three Walmart Supercenters, as well as a recently opened Walmart Neighborhood Market, Ms. Hatfield said there is enough demand at the existing stores to build another one.

“We’re there to best serve our customers,” she said.

Ms. Hatfield said she was unsure of when construction of the 182,000-square-foot facility would begin. The store will employ about 300 associates.

Simmons said the property sat undeveloped until Walmart showed interest in buying it. The deal has been under contract for so long — about 18 months — because Walmart wasn’t going to build there unless the area allowed beer and wine sales.

They were involved with the November election that brought beer and wine sales to the area. He said they had to get a petition signed by May for the November election.

Voters in Justice of the Peace precincts 1 and 4 approved the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

“We’re just excited it’s coming,” Simmons said. “This should be a great stimulus for that area,” which remains largely undeveloped, he said.

Simmons said they have an additional 8 to 9 acres surrounding the area, and they are seeing interest from businesses to follow Walmart there.

He said he expects to see similar development in the area compared to the shadow centers, restaurants and stores that came in around the Walmart on Texas Highway 64 West in recent years.