Walmart floats ‘Town Center’ retail concept
Big-box retail giant Walmart, long despised by Main Street small businesses for luring their customers to the superstore on the edge of town, is now attempting to bring town-center amenities to its sprawling parking lots in two Washington locations and elsewhere.
On a website devoted to its “Town Center” retail concept, Walmart lists four projects underway, including at stores in in the Washington cities of Shelton and Tumwater, and others in Texas and Colorado.
Walmart real-estate executive L.B. Johnson unveiled the concept at a shoppingcenter industry conference in October.
“We want to provide community space — areas for the community to dwell,” he said. “We want to provide pedestrian connectivity from our box to the experiential zones that are planned on our footprint.”
Community-development officials in Shelton and Tumwater said the company has had preliminary meetings with city planners but has not yet taken steps to obtain permits to redevelop the expansive parking lots surrounding its stores. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer did not respond to a request for comment.
On its website, Walmart depicts a mix of amenities it may add around its stores, including dining, fitness and sports activities (a golf driving range and skate park are pictured), services, transportation and curated retail — all things designed to make Walmart stores into “destinations.”
Walmart is attempting to bring town-center amenities to a few locations.