For Walmart, one door closes another opens Feb. 1


A new Walmart Supercenter is set to open in February at 5700 NW 23rd St. in Gainesville.

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 6:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 6:25 p.m.

Walmart has confirmed that the store on Northwest 13th Street will close when the new Supercenter to the north opens, which will be Feb. 1 if everything goes as planned.

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A new Walmart Supercenter is set to open in February at 5700 NW 23rd St. in Gainesville.

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun

The store at 2649 NW 13th St. will close tentatively on Jan. 31, said Laura D'Spain, a spokeswoman for Walmart. The new Supercenter is at 5700 NW 23rd St., off of Northwest 34th Street near U.S. 441. It will employ 260 full- and part-time employees, including transfers from the 13th Street store who decided to remain with the company and 75 to 100 new employees, she said. Interested applicants can apply at careers.walmart.com.

The old store -- which opened in 1983 -- is 103,000 square feet, while the new store is 170,000 square feet and will include a full line of groceries as well as general merchandise.

With construction all but complete, Walmart took possession of the new building this week and took its first delivery of merchandise Tuesday, D'Spain said.

Store Manager Kami Tate said the next steps are to complete landscaping and interior cosmetic touch-ups and to continue training.

Three outparcels were included in the development plans for the roads surrounding the new store. The properties are listed for sale by the Shopping Center Group of Orlando, which did not return calls for comment.

The move is expected to change the fortunes of the affected neighborhoods.

Mike Ryals of Bosshardt Realty Services said an out-of-state developer who builds small shopping centers near Walmart stores has a contract to buy the Northwood Village Shopping Center at 6520 NW 23rd St., which has struggled since Winn-Dixie closed around 2000. If the developer closes the sale, Ryals said the intention is to give the center a face-lift and put in new tenants.

Ryals said he also has had clients look at the outparcels.

“I don't think there's any question that something will eventually happen with them,” he said of the outparcels.

He is not as optimistic for the outparcel in front of the other Supercenter in east Gainesville.

“It's buried in the back,'' he said. “It would be more marketable if it was out on Waldo Road, but it's not.”

A national fast-food restaurant is looking at the former Capital City Bank building at 6360 NW 13th St., said Beau Beery of Coldwell Banker Commercial M.M. Parrish Realtors. He said he has had no calls about five undeveloped acres fronting 13th Street nearby.

Taking the traffic away from the old store will hurt business in that area, said Betsy Whitaker of Asset Management.

Local business people have expressed concern that the other businesses in the Gainesville Plaza with Walmart will leave. The plaza includes Books-A-Million, Save-A-Lot, Bealls Outlet and other stores.

The Kite Realty Group Trust of Indianapolis, Ind., which owns the property, already has listed the Walmart building as available. A spokeswoman did not return a call for comment.

The former Albertson's and Sticks ‘N' Stuff buildings nearby are already empty.

Whitaker is working on deals to divide up larger spaces. The long-vacant anchor spot in Verde Plaza at Northwest 23rd Avenue and 13th Street would be split into two or three spaces, and she said a couple of businesses are interested. She also is working on a redesign that would divide the former Piccadilly restaurant at 2620 NW 13th St.

The Goodwill store there will move out by next fall, she said, after building a new store just east of the vacant gas station at Northwest 23rd Avenue and 13th Street.

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