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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Move Fans Wal-Mart Rumors Retailer May Take North Side Site Being Vacated By Landscape Firm

A Spokane landscaping company will move from its 24-year North Side location this summer, possibly to make way for Wal-Mart.

“What we’ve heard is, Wal-Mart is interested in the land,” said Ron Hedstrom, co-owner of Nelson Landscape Inc.

Nelson will move from its 20 acres at 10801 N. Newport Highway in June. The site, hidden by pine trees, is just past the intersection of Nevada and Newport Highway.

Landowner Pente Partnership gave Nelson notice in December that its lease would expire June 15, said Dave Brown, Nelson’s general manager.

“It was kind of a shock to us,” Brown said. “All we know is that the property is in the process of being sold and we have to move.”

Dave Nelson - a partner in Pente Partnership and the son of Duane Nelson, who owned Nelson Landscaping before Hedstrom and partner Gary Sander - did not confirm that the property was being sold. He said Nelson Landscape lost its lease due to a variety of factors, but would not elaborate. Nelson said there were no plans for the land at this point, but “if somebody comes along …”

Many suspect that somebody is Wal-Mart.

Spokane County Building Director Jim Manson said a senior planner from his office met Wednesday with representatives from WalMart regarding an undisclosed North Side location.

Officials from Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., were not available for comment Thursday.

In November, the retail giant filed a site plan for a 33-acre Valley location at Sullivan and Broadway. Real estate professionals have long expected Wal-Mart to put two stores in Spokane - one in the Valley and one on the North Side.

Manson said Wal-Mart officials are working to meet requirements for a building permit for the Valley site. He expects the retailer to submit final drawings at the beginning of February.

Nelson Landscape sits on 20 acres, most of which is covered with the company’s wholesale nursery. If a retailer is to locate on that site, Wal-Mart would be the obvious choice as Target, Kmart, ShopKo, Fred Meyer and Costco all have North Side locations.

Another possible tenant, Canadian electronics chain Future Shop, recently confirmed that it plans to open in the spring or summer of 1996 in the former Smith Home Furnishings building in nearby Northpointe Plaza.

Nelson Landscape was started in 1958 by Duane Nelson and sold to Ron Hedstrom and Gary Sander in 1985. Hedstrom said Nelson’s is looking for a 15 to 30 acre site on the North Side, close to U.S. Highway 2.

Among Nelson’s better-known projects are landscaping for the Spokane Arena, Riverfront Park and Canada Island during Expo ‘74.

, DataTimes

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