Walmart picks firms for campus project

This artist rendering shows the redesign of the campus of Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville.
This artist rendering shows the redesign of the campus of Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville.

Walmart Inc. said Wednesday that it has selected the architect and design team that will make its vision for the new headquarters campus a reality.

Dan Bartlett, Walmart's executive vice president of corporate affairs, said in a news release that the Bentonville retailer has chosen global architecture firm Gensler to oversee the project as executive architect. Based in San Francisco, Gensler has 48 offices in 16 countries around the world.

Gensler will design the office buildings and lead a team of consultants, Bartlett said. These include Fayetteville firm Miller Boskus Lack Architects, which will lead design teams for the amenity buildings on campus such as the fitness center, auditorium and food hall.

In addition, urban design company Sasaki will focus on making the campus "an extension of the core of downtown Bentonville," Bartlett said. The Boston firm also has an office in Shanghai.

Landscape architecture firm SWA Group "will beautify the campus in a way that aligns with the natural features of the region," Bartlett said. "Their plan will preserve many trees and native species that reside here today and provide the public with excellent connectivity to the Razorback Greenway."

Finally, engineering firms Walter P Moore of Houston and Bentonville's CEI Engineering Associates "will ensure the work is executed efficiently and stays true to Walmart's Every Day Low Cost culture," Bartlett said.

The new "home office," as Walmart calls its headquarters, will cover about 350 acres in Bentonville on the east side of J Street, between Central Avenue and Arkansas 102. Work at the site began in July with demolition of some existing structures, along with construction of infrastructure and utilities.

The project is expected to be completed in 2024. No timeline has been set for construction of each phase, Bartlett said.

The retailer revealed plans for the construction project in May with a 3-D model that showed a campus laid out in four quadrants, called "neighborhoods." Each quadrant has parking facilities and is surrounded by green spaces, courtyards and trails. Food trucks will be parked near the office buildings.

At the center of campus, a large activity center will provide meeting and conference space. A food hall will be nearby, although coffee bars, food trucks and other dining options will be scattered throughout the campus. Other amenities, such as a child care center and hotel, will be on the campus periphery.

Walmart has declined to estimate the cost of the project, though Bartlett said at the May announcement that it would be "substantial." He also said the costs will be spread out over the construction period, so no single quarter or fiscal year will bear the brunt of the expense.

Business on 08/22/2019

CLARIFICATION: A description of the SWA Group's U.S. and international offices included in a previous version of this article has been removed.