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Walmart addresses questions about new store in north Forsyth
Construction likely to start next month

NORTH FORSYTH — Officials with Walmart offered an update Thursday night on the retailer’s plan to build a super center in north Forsyth and attempted to clear up some questions about the development.

Attorney David Kirk and Glen Wilkins, director of public affairs and government relations for Walmart, addressed the Forsyth County commission during its meeting.

“The property [off Browns Bridge Road near Ga. 400] was actually zoned for commercial development back in 2003, so more than 12 years ago, and had extensive conditions,” Kirk said. “There were 33 conditions in all.

“At the time, Walmart was not involved at all with the rezoning of the property. We first got involved around 2006, 2007.”

He said that plat approval was issued in 2007, though due to the recession a deal could not be reached at the time. In late 2012, the company began working again with the owner.

According to Wilkins, the super center can be built and opened in about a year.

“We have a quick timeframe on this,” he said. “We’ve been planning it for a while. We have our permits in hand. We expect to begin construction next month.

“I don’t have an exact date, but that’s how close we are to it. We are looking for a grand opening in second quarter, so I’d say about this time next year.”

Both men said the company had received a letter from District 4 County Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, who represents the area, asking that construction wait until the widening of Ga. 400 is complete, but that no decision had been made.

The Ga. 400 project is adding one lane in each direction from McFarland Parkway to Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369) in north Forsyth.

In addition, the Ga. 400-Hwy. 369 crossing will be transformed into an interchange that will be known as Exit 18.

The 13.4-mile road construction project is expected to cost $47.4 million and will be finished by May 31, 2018, with funding for the project coming from a partnership between Forsyth County and the DOT.

The new Walmart will offer the typical grocery and retail shopping, along with other amenities, the officials said.

“This store will include a garden center and an automotive center… it doesn’t do heavy maintenance, but it does change tires and changes oil and that sort of thing,” Kirk said.

“In addition to the super center, there will be a full [gas] station and small kiosk located adjacent to the main entrance to the retail center.”

The total development will occupy about 38 acres, with about 21 for the main store and fuel center and the rest going toward out lots, parking, and road improvements.

Wilkins said he expects the development to bring about 300 jobs to the area, with perhaps as many as half of those full-time positions.

“There has been tremendous growth out in this area,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot of pressure put on our other stores that are north and south of here.

“What we’re hoping to do is to relieve the pressure on those stores by splitting the customer base up, so customers don’t have to drive too far.”