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Walmart expansion approved

Posted: Tuesday, Feb 22nd, 2011

courtesy graphic These drawings show redesign plans for the outer facade of the Cottage Grove Walmart store.

At its Wednesday, Feb. 16 meeting, the Cottage Grove Planning Commission approved the expansion of the Cottage Grove Walmart store to include a full grocery department, bakery, deli and pharmacy, in addition to a seasonal outdoor sales area.

City Planner Amanda Ferguson said she expects building permits soon from site development firm PACLAND, which will expand the current store from 81,475 square feet to 109,995 square feet. The expansion will take place primarily to the west of the existing building, according to a PACLAND staff report. The existing entry will be relocated eastward and enlarged. The remodel includes exterior façade redesign, new paint, new entrance, expanded and realigned parking lot, landscaping, bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian circulation, in addition to several new “green” construction upgrades such as LED lights, a water-powered heating system and baseboards made of recycled materials. A total of 137 trees will be added to the parking lot. The store is expected to add about 85 jobs as part of the expansion.

A representative from PACLAND and the architect charged with designing the expansion spoke at Wednesday’s meeting, as did representatives from the Oregon Department of Transportation. Kristin Sanger of the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce also spoke in favor of the expansion. A total of 15 community members spoke regarding the expansion proposal, with 13 speaking in favor of the expansion and two against. Six letters were sent in favor of the expansion, compared to one against.

As part of the approval process, Walmart submitted conditional use permit applications to operate an outdoor sales area, which would sell garden items seasonally. They also received a permit to construct a façade wall higher than those normally allowed by city code. The sole restriction placed on Walmart by the Commission required the company to better integrate security cameras on the outside of the building with the outer façade.

“There really wasn’t that much to argue about,” Ferguson later said.

Walmart spokesperson Tiffany Moffatt said a timeline has not been set for construction, but that Walmart continues to work closely with city staff to establish one. Once begun, Moffatt said construction could take up to 12 months.

Moffatt said jobs would be added throughout the store, which will remain open throughout the remodel. She said Walmart will maintain a close contact with local media to keep the community updated on the hiring process.

Moffatt said the store’s expansion was in “direct response to customer needs,” though she did not go into specifics. She said the term “Supercenter” would not be used to describe the newly expanded Cottage Grove store.

“We do (still use the term),” she said. “But it’s a community by community approach that often depends on the size of the building and where it is. We’re trying to take a flexible approach with every store.”

For the complete article see the 02-23-2011 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-23-2011 paper.

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