By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — If it gains commissioners’ approval, a Sam’s Club is coming to town.
“It’s a pretty big thing for Wake Forest,” said Chad Sary, the town’s assistant planning director. “We’re working on the second review (of the plans). It’s just a matter of time before it goes before the board.”
The plans for the bulk discount store show the 139,000-square-foot building slated for the Shoppes at Caveness Farms, an area behind the Wake Forest Walmart, at the corner of Caveness Farms Avenue and the collector street that serves Chili’s and the Texas Roadhouse restaurants.
Both roads have access to Capital Boulevard and Caveness connects to Ligon Mill Road, which empties out onto South Main Street. The collector road connects back to the Walmart shopping center as well.
One hurdle Sam’s Club will have to surmount, however, is conducting a study to prove that the plan won’t generate excessive amounts of traffic.
Adjustments to Capital Boulevard intersections are likely going to be a part of the plan, said Sary. The traffic study will determine what those needs are.
“They’re working on some major transportation improvements,” he added.
Sam’s Club is a membership-only retail warehouse in which items are placed on pallets and bins around the store, usually stacked in bulk. Products include food, electronics, jewelry, toys, baby items, clothing and the like. Most locations have pharmacy, auto care, photo, bakery, optical, café and flowers departments, according to the website.
The plan does denote a 51-foot gasoline canopy, however. Some Sam’s Clubs have fuel pumps for use by members.
The property is owned by Weingarten Investments Inc., and is zoned highway business, so the store is a permitted use. Still, a building that size automatically generates a special-use permit public hearing, in which proponents and opponents of the plan, or others who may have a concern, are allowed to present findings of fact.
Caveness Farms apartments residents who have previously spoken out about the tenuous traffic situation at Caveness Farms Avenue and Capital Boulevard may weigh in, for instance.
Sam’s Club stores are run by Walmart Stores Inc., based out of Bentonville, Ala. The plan is being prepared by Bohler Engineering of Charlotte.
Walmart representatives did not return calls by press deadline to answer questions about traffic, what the store will encompass and how many people are expected to be hired.