Sams Club, the members-only warehouse-store chain operated by retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., plans to open a store just west of the nearly 6-year-old Costco Wholesale Corp. store on east Sprague Avenue.
Sams West Inc., the real estate arm of Sams Club, has bought 23 acres of land there from Union Pacific Railroad Co. for $7.6 million, according to Spokane County tax documents. Jennifer Holder, a Bellevue, Wash.-based spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, says the big Arkansas-based company plans to develop a Sams Club store there.
Additional details about the envisioned store, including its size, how many people it might employ, and when Wal-Mart hopes to open it, werent immediately available. Sams Club stores, though, are similar to Costco stores, which offer general merchandise and food in bulk at reduced prices.
In January, Wal-Mart disclosed plans to develop its first Sams Club store here, an $11.7 million, 153,000-square-foot outlet thats to be located on a 20-acre site at the northeast corner of Lincoln Road and Nevada Street, on Spokanes North Side.
Construction of that store, which is expected to employ about 120 people, hasnt begun yet.
The Spokane Valley property where the Sams Club store would be built is located a short distance north of Sprague, and would be bisected by Carnahan Street if Carnahan extended north of Sprague. On its east side it borders Costcos property, and it borders railroad property to the north and west. As with the Costco property there, it sits back from Sprague and is separated from that thoroughfare by a number of small businesses.
Marina Sukup, community development director for the city of Spokane Valley, says development cant begin there until the city approves a rezone of the property and a binding site plan for the project. Wal-Mart hasnt filed an application with the city yet for either, she says.
Dwight Hume, of D.J. Hume Co., of Spokane, acting as a consultant for Union Pacific, filed an application in August to rezone 54 acres of land there to commercial business from light and heavy industrial.
That application includes small parcels of land belonging to General Equities Inc., of Airway Heights, and William Banks, of Spokane. Hume later revised the application to have all of the property rezoned for regional business use.
Sukup says regional business zoning is less restrictive than commercial business zoning, and includes the Costco store here, the Spokane Valley Mall, or anything that has a service area extending well beyond Spokane Valley.
Hume says he isnt at liberty to say more about plans for the property.
Sukup says the public hearing regarding the proposed zone change will be held Thursday, Jan. 25, before the citys hearing examiner in the city of Spokane Valleys council chambers, at 11707 E. Sprague.
Holder, of Wal-Mart, says the city of Spokane took five months to complete a traffic-impact study for the planned North Side Sams Club. She says the city has provided the results of that study to Sams Club contractors, and Wal-Mart has asked them to estimate costs to address concerns raised in the study. Holder says Sams Club regularly works with municipal governments to pay for the most pressing of such traffic concerns.
If there are five intersections impacted to some degree by a new store, the city often focuses on the one it deems to be the most critical, and we will pay all of the costs for that improvement, she says.
She suggests it could be another six months before Sams Club breaks ground on the Lincoln Avenue-Nevada Street project. Wal-Mart had said earlier that the store likely would open late this year or in early 2007.
Contact Rocky Wilson at (509) 344-1264 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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