Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Wal-Mart eyes Eastgate expansion

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

        BATAVIA - Officials representing Wal-Mart will go to the Clermont County Planning Commission tonight asking for approval of a proposal to expand the Eastgate store into a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

        There are two Wal-Mart Supercenters in the Tristate, in Dry Ridge and Aurora. Another is planned for Fort Wright.

        Supercenters are transforming food retailing and increasing the competitive pressure on traditional retailers such as Cincinnati-based Kroger. Boston Consulting Group, a management consulting firm, says Wal-Mart's growth will make it the world's largest food retailer by the end of 2005.

        The proposal calls for the front entrance of the Eastgate building to be shifted to face north to allow room to expand the building to 203,662 square feet. Calls to the store to find the current square footage were referred to Wal-Mart's corporate public relations, which did not have the number.

        The parking lot will become outlots of 1.2 acres and 2.22 acres for commercial development, said Curt Paddock, director of planning and development for Clermont County.

        The proposal will come before the commission at 5 p.m. in its offices at 2379 Clermont Center Drive. Jackson Center Associates, owner of the property Wal-Mart would use for the expansion, will speak on behalf of the project.

        Mr. Paddock's department has recommended to the 10-member commission that it approve an amendment to the development plan to allow for the expansion. Its recommendation will be forwarded to Union Township officials, who will have the final say.

        The department also recommended the commission OK the plan for the outlots.


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