Wal-Mart Supercenter construction could begin this fall

GARFIELD TWP – The expansion project that will turn the Wal-Mart store at Grand Traverse Crossings into a "Supercenter" went out for bids the second week of September and construction could start as early as the beginning of November.

The Wal-Mart store is expanding to include a supermarket and 24-hour operations.

Nick Infante, senior manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart in Michigan, said officials had been looking at other potential locations for a Supercenter in the Traverse City area for some time before deciding to expand at its South Airport Road location. The company first announced expansion plans late last year.

In addition to the 29,355 square-feet of retail space that will be built in the current garden center area, a 10-foot-high sound barrier wall along the north and east sides of the property line is being constructed to address the noise concerns of the residents of the adjacent condominium development.

"The wall was the number request to come out of our meetings with the residential neighbors," Infante said.

The Garfield Township Board approved the expansion project at the end of July.

The creation of the Supercenter will also create 150-175 new jobs, approximately doubling the size of its current workforce. If everything goes according to schedule, the expansion will be complete by October 2009.

The next closest Wal-Mart Supercenter is in Cadillac. Gaylord and Alpena also have Supercenter stores. The Traverse City Wal-Mart opened in the mid-1990s and currently covers more than 127,000 square-feet. BN