Study finds site work for Wal-Mart to be expensive

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2002

An engineering study has put the cost of road and utility work for a potential Wal-Mart Supercenter at $2.45 million, and the company would be responsible for paying most of it.

The results of the study, requested by the company to help get a handle on the expense of building the new retail center and grocery store near East Main and I-35 in Albert Lea, were delivered to the city Friday.

With few other developed properties and several wetlands in the construction area, the city would not be able to assess much of the cost of the new roads, traffic signals and other public improvements to many neighboring properties, said City Manager Paul Sparks.

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&uot;The bulk of the assessments will be against the Wal-Mart property,&uot; Sparks said.

Few if any other local projects have had such a high price tag for public improvements, he said. The Home Depot project, for instance, cost around $1.5 million.

The improvements include extending Blake Road across East Main into the site area, at a cost of $1.047 million; adding traffic lights at Blake and Main for $298,540 and at Blake and County Road 46 for $259,000; creating a new road for $292,400; and other road, sewer and water main projects.

Of all the projects, the city would pay for part of the sanitary sewer expansion with a price tag of $43,700; and a portion of the $45,100 cost of water main construction under the new road.

Wal-Mart announced plans to build a new Supercenter in Albert Lea more than a year ago, but the company has not been able to finalize its plans yet. The latest study, paid for by the company, follows other research funded by the city to determine the cost of building on the site.