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Walmart files plans to expand distribution center – more than doubling in size

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At 1.1M sq. ft., expanded facility could become largest in industrial park – and county

Preliminary plans have been filed with the city of Mebane for a proposed expansion of the Walmart distribution center in the Hawfields-area industrial park, known formally as the North Carolina Commerce Park between Graham and Mebane.

The plans call for the construction of a second warehouse building that would be 599,006 square feet and would be built in front of, to the west and right of, the existing Walmart distribution center at 2837 Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway, which has a Mebane address but is located within the Hawfields community in eastern Alamance County.

Combined with the existing facility that spans 461,516 square feet, the proposed second distribution center would more than double the footprint of the Walmart distribution center, to approximately 1.1 million square feet, based on initial construction plans that Kimley-Horn has filed with the city of Mebane.

At a potential 1.1 million square feet, the Walmart distribution center expansion could eventually eclipse two other distribution centers currently located in the Hawfields-area industrial park.

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Lidl, the German grocer, has a 919,840-square foot distribution center at 3815 Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway.

United Parcel Service also has 788,850 square feet of warehouse space underway at 2770 Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway.  (Information on file with the county’s tax department indicates that the UPS facility was 35 percent complete as of the beginning of this year.)

Mebane’s technical review committee got a first glimpse two weeks ago of the proposed expansion of the Walmart distribution center, which is situated on 186 acres the company now owns in the Hawfields-area park.

The preliminary construction plans are not exact architectural plans and are subject to change, Mebane city officials told The Alamance News this week.

The existing Walmart distribution center was completed in 2015 and spans 461,516 square feet, based on a description of the property on file with the county’s tax department.

Walmart representatives had told local government officials in 2013 – as part of a multijurisdictional incentives package that Alamance County, Graham, and Mebane had offered to lure the retailer to build in the Hawfields-area park – that the company intended to develop the distribution center in two phases.

The first facility, which opened in 2016, was planned for perishable goods, such as frozen foods and produce.  That phase of development was estimated to generate about 450 new jobs.

The second phase called for construction of a distribution center for dry goods, which was also estimated to generate another 450 jobs, Walmart’s director of realty acquisitions told Graham city officials at the time.  There is currently no indication of a more up-to-date projected employment impact, based on the preliminary construction plans that have been filed with the city of Mebane.

However, The Alamance News has learned that the company is scheduled to break ground on the second distribution center in June and that 80 percent of the operations will be automated.

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Walmart’s Matt Powers delivering a 2013 presentation of the two phases of Walmart construction, including new warehouse now set to break ground 10 years later, in June of this year.

The proposed second facility was originally described as a “dry-box” distribution center spanning 443,314 square feet; but at the current 599,006 square feet shown on the plans that have been filed with the city of Mebane, it would be about 156,000 square feet larger than originally envisioned.

However, that potential use (warehouse storage for dry goods) is not delineated within the latest plans that have been filed with the city of Mebane.

In addition to the construction of the 599,006 square foot warehouse, the plans for the proposed expansion also call for: 286 parking spaces for employees and visitors; 13 handicap-accessible parking spaces; 693 parking spaces for storage trailers; 243 spaces for tractor (truck) parking; and 154 dock doors.

By comparison, the existing distribution center has: 287 parking spaces for employees and visitors; 13 handicap spaces; 275 spaces for storage trailers; 66 spaces for “tractor” parking; and 82 dock doors.

The plans for the proposed expansion of the Walmart distribution center along Senator Ralph Soctt Parkway also call for the construction of a 39,953-square foot maintenance garage, several adjacent “fuel bays,” and underground fuel tanks that would be built at the rear of the site, behind the existing distribution center, which backs up to Kimrey Road.

A proposed chain link fence and retaining wall would be built on two sides of the proposed second warehouse building.

The initial construction plans also include two proposed stormwater retention ponds that would be built, in addition to three existing retention ponds: the two proposed stormwater retention ponds would be built in front of behind the second warehouse, based on the plans that Kimley-Horn has developed for the Walmart distribution center expansion.

A media relations representative for Walmart had not responded to an inquiry from The Alamance News by press time Wednesday.

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