A building permit was issued to Walmart on June 23rd for a scaled down Walmart store in the vacated former Expo Design Center at 2421 Powell Avenue near 100 Oaks Mall. Walmart choosing to build in the commercial neighborhood around 100 Oaks is a good sign even in rocky economic times. The Supercenter hopes to attract plenty of business from the 1,300 Vanderbilt employees that work in the area as well as patients and shoppers from Berry Hill, Woodbine and neighborhoods near Thompson Lane. A 100 Oaks shopper Lamont Bunch, said he was sure Walmart puts in plenty of research when deciding where to place a store, seeing it as a positive for the community, which badly needs a grocery store.
“I’m interested to see what kind of layout and what kind of product they’ll have,’’ said Angela Heering, a 100 Oaks patron who works for a local real estate company in Berry Hill. “This is more of a business area now. I think it will be a convenience.’’ Woodbine neighborhood association President Tamara Price told the Tennesseean that the neighborhood has several goals such as “making Woodbine a more walkable community and improving Coleman Park…We look forward to working with Walmart as a corporate partner on reaching those goals.” Some neighbors in the area have expressed concern about Walmart’s impact on local business, especially in Berry Hill, a satellite city of just under a square mile with about 400 businesses, near the 100 Oaks area and the future Walmart. On the contrary, Pat Embree, a business owner in Berry Hill believes the Walmart can help attract new potential customers to the area without competing with the majority of stores there that sell niche products.
“The biggest problem we have is awareness of the whole Berry Hill district,” Pat Embree said. “Personally, I think anytime you bring more people to an area, that’s good. And, it’s a grocery store desert.” The new Walmart is expected to bring about 200 jobs and cover 96,000 square feet that will operate as the Supercenter, according to Tice White, a company spokeswoman. Walmart’s supercenters are typically 185,000 square feet, so this store will be on the smaller end, becoming the smallest Walmart Supercenter in Nashville. The construction cost reached approximately 4 million dollars, according to the building permit. Completion of the Supercenter is estimated for late 2011 with a grand opening targeted for the first quarter of 2012 (source) (source 2) (picture 1) (picture 2).