Wal-Mart submits proposal to build new distribution center in Arkansas

The Wal-Mart home office in Bentonville is pictured in this January 2017 file photo.
The Wal-Mart home office in Bentonville is pictured in this January 2017 file photo.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to build another distribution center in Northwest Arkansas, and the company plans to put it across the street from one already established in Bentonville.

The retailer submitted a large-scale development proposal -- which it is calling "Project Maple" -- with the city last month. The proposal for the 1.27 million-square-foot distribution center is scheduled to be included in the next planning commission meeting April 18.

The proposed distribution center will be situated on 119.77 acres off Southwest Regional Airport Boulevard, across the road from Wal-Mart's 1.2 million-square-foot regional distribution center.

The building will include 1.03 million square feet of warehouse floor, 216,000 square feet dedicated to shipping and 16,307 square feet for office space, according to plans. The project also calls for 299,000 square feet of future warehouse expansion, according to the proposal submitted to the city.

Wal-Mart spokesman Anne Hatfield confirmed Tuesday the retailer's plans to build the distribution center in Bentonville, but said it was too early for other details like a timeline for completion or the number of workers the retailer will employ in the new building.

"We have decided to build a new distribution center here in the [Northwest Arkansas] area to increase our logistics capacity and capabilities in this market," Hatfield said. "[Northwest Arkansas] continues to be an attractive location for supporting our distribution needs in the Midwest."

The proposal calls for 1,511 parking spaces, including 1,036 for trailers and 475 for employees.

Ft Scott Property LLC owns the land that Wal-Mart plans to use for the distribution center, purchasing it for $2.63 million in February 2013, according to Benton County records.

The proposal is another step in Wal-Mart's ongoing efforts to continue strengthening an already vast network of distribution centers, e-commerce fulfillment centers, stores and trucking operations.

The retailer had 147 distribution facilities placed strategically throughout the U.S. in fiscal 2017, which ended Jan. 31, according to an annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Wal-Mart said about 78 percent of its U.S. store purchases was of merchandise shipped through the distribution facilities. The rest was shipped directly from suppliers.

Last month, AL.com reported that the retailer would begin construction on a 2.6 million-square-foot distribution center in Mobile, Ala., that would employ 550 people. The estimated cost of the project is $135 million and the regional distribution center will service about 800 of Wal-Mart's 4,600 U.S. stores, according to the news service.

Business on 04/05/2017

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