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Retail giant ends contract without comment
by Clellie Allen
ROLESVILLE — After nine months of speculation and wrangling over special-use permit restrictions, Walmart decided not to purchase the 3.36 acres of land it had under contract at the corner of Rogers Road and Grand Rock Way in Rolesville.
Benjamin Fisher, of the law firm Troutman Sanders, notified the E. Carroll Joyner company A Master Team LLC June 4 that Walmart had elected to terminate the property purchase agreement, forfeiting the $20,000 deposit. The land was originally slated for a Walmart Express, a much smaller version of the retail giant’s usual stores.
Jackie Wilson, who helped to facilitate the purchase agreement, was disappointed, but at the same time said the property had been tied up under contract for 270 days.
Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles said he felt like the town had worked hard to push the project through the approval process.
Commissioners gave the final nod to the store at its May 6 board meeting after rezoning the property.
A source close to the project said Walmart withdrew because of a nationwide plan to rework the design of the store to make it more cost-effective. However, no one from Walmart returned calls for comment.
The Rolesville Walmart Express was originally slated to be 12,000 square feet, with a gas pumping station and a pharmacy. Similar Walmart Express stores stock groceries, household items and seasonal goods. This size of the store is a far cry from a Super Walmart or even a standard store. Instead, it is much like the CVS on the next block.
Because of the underground fuel tanks associated with the fueling station, Walmart was required to obtain a special-use permit. The commissioners used the permitting process to require Walmart to complete a number of extra projects, including repairing and paving the unnamed road between Grand Rock Way and the CVS building at the corner of Rogers Road and U.S. 401.
Additionally, Walmart would have to put down the final layer of asphalt along its entire property frontage on Grand Rock Way. Commissioners then voted to restrict the store’s operating hours to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., even though nearby Food Lion remains open until 11 p.m.
In spite of the extra requirements by the town council, Eagles said he did not believe they played a part in Walmart’s decision. Rather, he believes that Walmart may be waiting until the U.S. 401 bypass around town is completed.