Wal-Mart sent a site plan to Spokane County building officials this week in the first solid sign that the retail giant is coming to town.
The plan identifies the 33-acre potential site as 15727 E. Broadway, at the intersection with Sullivan in the Spokane Valley. The plan proposes a 134,740-square-foot store, including automotive and garden centers, said Tom Davis, a code compliance coordinator for the county.
The proposed Valley store would be in the upper size range of Wal-Mart stores, which range from 50,000 to 150,000 square feet nationwide.
Notoriously tight-lipped Wal-Mart representatives would say only that they are pursuing a site in East Spokane and are evaluating the market.
“We are very interested in Spokane,” said Les Copeland, a spokesman for the Arkansas-based chain. But, “we wouldn’t make an official announcement until we were 100 percent sure.”
Submitting a site plan is a “pretty strong indication” that Wal-Mart will go forward, said Spokane County Building Director Jim Manson.
Real estate sources speculate that Wal-Mart is planning at least one other Spokane-area store, on the city’s North Side. Copeland would not confirm that information.
A pre-application conference with county officials has been set up for Tuesday to discuss the Valley site and the type drawings that are required for the building permit application, Davis said.
The site plan says customers will turn into the Wal-Mart parking lot from Broadway, but the store will overlook Interstate 90, just east of the Red Lion Inn, Davis said.
Though the company needs to apply for a building permit, zoning approval will not be necessary. The county approved the site in the early ‘90s for use as a shopping center with a discount retailer as anchor.
“All the environmental work has been done,” Davis said of the site. “It’s just a matter of submitting your plans.”
Wal-Mart’s competition in the area would include four other discount retail giants within two miles - Target, Fred Meyer, Kmart and Shopko. Fred Meyer is the largest of the bunch at 165,000 square feet. The proposed Wal-Mart would be 50 percent larger than both Target and Shopko, each about 90,000 square feet.
The proposed Spokane Valley Mall site also is nearby, about a half mile away across the interstate. The megamall is scheduled to open by August 1997.
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