Walmart Super center coming to South Columbus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Walmart Super center coming to South Columbus

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson announced on Thursday, May 15, that a new Walmart Super center will be built on Victory Dr. at the location of the old Baker High School.

While four Walmart stores already operate in Columbus, Tomlinson says adding another one in South Columbus could help bring in more business owners and residents to the area.  

"Walmart has very strict criteria," says Tomlinson. "They don't just go to places for favors or because they happen to like the community. They go where they know they will make money."

The new 150,000 sq. ft. Walmart will also have about 21,000 sq. ft. of additional space for restaurants, banks and other shops. It is expected to create about 300 new jobs.

The ground breaking process is expected to start at the end of this calendar year. Mayor Tomlinson said the project is expected to take 18 months.

Tomlinson says the initial capital investment for the project is $16,000,000.

The idea of bringing a Walmart to South Columbus has been around for more than a decade, but now the city is seeing that plan finally come to life.

"I think most of us thought that the project was dead," said Len Williams, CEO of Columbus Housing Authority. "But there was that one person who refused to let that idea die. Our Mayor went out and commissioned her own market study, proving that this would be a good investment opportunity for Walmart. And today we are seeing fruits of that effort."

"We were able to change some perceptions, intrigue them, and make them realize that this would be one of the profitable stores in their inventory, "said Tomlinson. "We need to have a grocery store and large retail outlet in this area to sustain the neighborhoods, and to create an environment for other neighborhoods and residential development to come into this region."

"Walmart is very excited to be on the south side of Columbus," Marlene Hunter-Lammie, the regional Walmart general manager for South Georgia told News Leader 9. "We've been partners with Columbus for more than 25 years. We operate in other locations, and we are happy to further our partnership with the city."

Tomlinson says brining Walmart to South Columbus was a persisting team effort. She credited Columbus City Council, the Housing Authority, the Development Authority, the Chamber of Commerce and the residents of the area.

The City plans to break ground on the process at the end of 2014. Tomlinson says the project could take about 18 months to complete.

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