Plans for new Merrill Walmart
Walmart and officials from the city of Merrill announced Tuesday that plans are underway for the construction of a new 120,000-square foot Walmart store at the corner of Pine Ridge Ave. and State Hwy. 64, across the street from the current Walmart at 3500 E. Main St. in Merrill. The new store is pending governmental approvals, and construction would start in 2012.
“We are excited about the opportunities this development presents for our customers and the region,” said Lisa B. Nelson, senior manager, public affairs & government relations for Walmart in Wisconsin. “The proposal provides an opportunity for Walmart to introduce the latest in building design, integrate sustainable building efficiencies, and accommodate expansion of our grocery, pharmacy and general merchandise offerings to better serve our Merrill customers.”
According to Merrill Mayor Bill Bialecki, this project is key to Merrill’s implementation of its Highway 51 Economic Growth Strategy Plan.
“This development creates exciting opportunities at this important intersection, which is the gateway to Merrill,” said Bialecki. “Not only will there be additional jobs and tax base, there will also be new opportunities for business at the shopping center, and infrastructure improvements that enhance the area.”
The proposed redevelopment project would get underway following governmental approvals, with the new 24-hour store with full grocery and pharmacy slated to open about a year from breaking ground. The current Walmart would remain open during construction. The new store would employ 200-250 people.
Merrill city planning staff confirmed they are working with Walmart engineering consultants and architects to accommodate the challenges of the site, which include gas line and transmission line easements.
Bialecki announced a neighborhood meeting in the Council Chambers in City Hall at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 22.
“I hope our citizens will come out for the informational meeting and talk with Walmart representatives about details of this exciting project,” said Bialecki. “The new store represents an opportunity to significantly improve retail and business opportunities surrounding this intersection. It also incorporates many design elements that I think people are going to like.”
The new Merrill Walmart, like all new Walmart stores, will include energy-efficient technology and environmentally friendly features to reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. The store’s skylights will harvest daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by up to 75 percent daily. LED lighting in the store will operate 70 percent more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting. Low-flow toilets and faucets will reduce the water used in the bathrooms.
“Sustainability is a priority for us at Walmart,” said Nelson. “We’re excited to share our plans to invest in Merrill, upgrading our operations and improving efficiencies to benefit customers and the community through a sustainable store design we can all be proud of.”