Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Eight Days of Truth - Day Three

Today we are off to the Southwest and Rio Rancho, NM, population 61,953, where the "Wal-Mart Effect" is in full swing even before a Supercenter has been built. A Wal-Mart Supercenter is currently under construction in Rio Rancho and is expected to open in Spring 2006. PARD has frequently questioned how Wal-Mart will draw in customers to other stores in Pullman when it offers "one-stop shopping." This article from the the Albuquerque Journal, April 26, 2005 explains:
Wal-Mart Attracts Retailers to Area

By Rory McClannahan
Journal Staff Writer

Construction of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter at Southern and Unser boulevards in Rio Rancho is attracting more retailers to the area.

The owners of the existing Southern Plaza are expecting more tenants, and plans for another commercial development on the southwest corner of the intersection are well under way.

"It's great. Wal-Mart will bring a lot of traffic to the area, which can do nothing but help our tenants," said Linda Davis of CB Richard Ellis, the leasing agent for the Southern Plaza Shopping Center on the northeast corner of the intersection.

Davis said interest in the 130,000-square-foot shopping center has picked up since Wal-Mart announced plans last year to build a store on the northwest corner of the intersection. Construction began about two weeks ago.

Michael Butler with Maestas and Ward said Monday that the development on the southwest corner of the intersection will include at least one 90,000-square-foot store and several pad sites to be completed about the same time as Wal-Mart early next year.

"Wal-Mart will drive retail consumers to that site," he said. "It's going to be a major trade area in Rio Rancho."

Butler said plans for the new center are "extremely preliminary" and could not announce any tenants.

Although there are currently seven empty storefronts in the Southern Plaza, Davis said she is close to signing lease agreements on all but three, including one with a national chain store, which Davis could not name.

Southern Plaza was built in 1986 and Davis said through the years it has averaged about 80 percent occupancy. By the time Wal-Mart opens, she said, 93 percent of the center will be leased.

"A lot of retailers like to be near Wal-Mart," she said. "They know a
Supercenter will attract a lot of traffic."

The 214,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter is expected to open in spring 2006. The front of the store is intended to mimic more a main street than a big box. The design includes green awnings and cast iron-style fencing.

Wal-Mart will spend about $900,000 to redesign and construct a new intersection at Southern and Unser for the city of Rio Rancho.

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

It is illogical to believe that a good retail store won't create more traffic. As a business owner, the last thing I want to be is isolated. My store is next to My Office Tavern and we share customers. Sometimes my customers will go to My Office for lunch and sometimes My Office customers wander into my store. Pullman Grill and Bar being open again has meant a lot to my business. When the restaurant was closed, my business suffered. More people in my area create more retail activity.