Wal-Mart less than a year away

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 14, 2002

Albert Lea’s long-anticipated Wal-Mart Supercenter should be built by August of 2003, according to city manager Paul Sparks.

&uot;I’m relieved that we can finally get this done,&uot; said Sparks.

After almost two years of planning and negotiations, Wal-Mart has asked the city for an agreement over development of the site.

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The city is going with the basic same agreement that had been originally proposed when talks first began, according to Sparks. The only difference is that less land will be assessed for infrastructure improvements in the area where the store will be &045; at Co. Rd. 46, I-35 and East Main Street.

The total cost of the infrastructure project will be $2.6 million. That will be split up between Wal-Mart, the city and the other property owners in that area.

The city will pay $200,000 of that, and $400,000 will be paid by the property owners in deferred and financed assessments.

The project will use oversized infrastructure, such as sewer lines and water pipes, in order to save on future costs of expansion, according to Sparks. This way any expansions to the west of the property will be easily picked up by the existing infrastructure.

Sparks said the project took a long time to get off the ground because Wal-Mart had many other projects going in the last few years.

&uot;They called us two years ago, and then for about 18 months we didn’t hear anything from them,&uot; said Sparks. &uot;Then in August they called us again and we got moving on it.&uot;

Wal-Mart hopes the store will open by August of 2003.

Tonight the city council will be voting on whether to accept the development agreement.

The council will also decide whether to have contractor Bolton and Menk design the infrastructure for the site.