Two and a half years after buying a 22.6-acre site on Highway 58 to build another one of its superstores, Walmart is giving up on the project and selling the property.
Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield said the world's biggest retailer altered its original plans for the Harrison location and will instead dispose of the site and focus on the 27 existing superstores and Neighborhood Market grocery outlets within the 50-mile radius of greater Chattanooga.
Hatfield said Walmart is investing $31.5 million in innovations and upgrades of its Tennessee stores this year, including the remodeling of its supercenter in Kimball this fall and the addition of Walmart Pickup towers at stores in Ooltewah and Cleveland.
Walmart has hired Westmoreland Co. of Marietta, Ga., and one of its agents, Ross Westbrook, to sell the Highway 58 site it is giving up.
"After much deliberation and consideration of several business factors, we have decided not to pursue development of a store there," Hatfield said about the property at Highway 58 and Hickory Valley Road. "Since our original proposal, our customers' needs have evolved and we are focused on improving our existing stores to meet the changing needs of our customers as well as new innovations to simplify how our customers shop."
In early 2016, the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust, the property division of the giant retailer, paid $1.1 million to buy the former Cornerstone Auto Brokers dealership at Highway 58 and Hickory Valley Road and another $1.26 million for adjacent residential and commercial property previously owned by the Frances Cannon family trust.
The Chattanooga-Hamilton Regional Planning Commission agreed to rezone the site for Walmart and company officials said two years ago that they expected to open the superstore with 300 full- and part-time workers by the end of 2016.
But after beginning to clear the site, Walmart halted work in the fall of 2016 and recently put the property up for sale.
The cutback came as Walmart halted or closed 269 stores in 2016 and shifted much of its growth focus on e-commerce, adding store pickup and delivery services at most of its retail outlets.
Highway 58 previously housed a Kmart store a couple of miles south from the abandoned Walmart location, but that Kmart store closed in 2012 after operating for 35 years.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 757-6340.