Supercenter coming to area

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

For those who travel to Marshall, Warrensburg, Richmond or Sedalia to shop at a Walmart Supercenter, life may get a little easier in the upcoming year.

Early last week, Walmart managers at the Higginsville location told employees that the company had approved the construction of a new Supercenter, which will replace the current store.

The Supercenter will be west of the Lafayette County C-1 High School between Pizza Hut and the former Town and Country Lumber. Donna Brown, economic development director for Higginsville, said the store will sit on 14 acres, facing east toward Missouri Highway 13.

Brown said it will be a smaller version of the Supercenter models, measuring a little more than 100,000-square feet.

It is set for completion sometime in late 2012. Brown was not sure of the exact dates. She and other city officials were meeting with engineers to discuss the project this week.

The Supercenter will employ approximately 160 people, bringing about 80 new jobs to Higginsville.

The current Walmart employs around 80 people, Brown said.

Walmart did not receive any incentives from the city for the new expansion.

The city of Higginsville and Lafayette County should experience noticeable increases in sales tax revenue from the new store.

Brown said Supercenters in other towns such as Richmond, Warrensburg and Marshall pull a lot of revenue out of the county. Hopefully, the new store will encourage those shoppers to spend their money in the county, she said.

It could also boost development near the planned location. Brown said many small retailers and restaurant chains tend to follow Supercenters.

At the present time, no other companies are planning to build in the area, but that might change in the next few months.

"Once the news gets out, I am sure the planning will start," she said.

Plans for a Supercenter have been in the works for several years, but, more than once, obstacles thwarted progress. Brown said the Great Recession was one such set back.

Usage of the old building is not certain at this point.

Brown said, however, a possible tenant is interested in the property. She said nothing is certain and did not give the name of the possible replacement.

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