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Walmart officials confirm plans to build second facility at Hawfields industrial park

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Walmart corporate officials confirmed Wednesday that the company will expand its existing distribution center at the Hawfields-area industrial park, known as the North Carolina Commerce Park, between Graham and Mebane.

The original 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, opened in 2016.  That facility was estimated to generate about 450 new jobs.

The new, fully-automated facility will include more than 500,000 square feet of automated technology designed to increase capacity for perishable products.  The retailer has not yet revealed any potential employment impact associated with Walmart’s forthcoming second facility at the Hawfields-area industrial park.

Meanwhile, the county’s state legislative delegation praised the forthcoming expansion Wednesday.

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“Walmart already holds a significant presence in Alamance County and this investment to double the square footage of its distribution center underscores the strength of North Carolina’s business climate,” senator Amy Galey said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Walmart for many years to come.”

State representative Dennis Riddell, who represents much of Alamance County in the General Assembly, also praised the expansion. “This is more good economic news for Alamance County and North Carolina. Walmart’s proposed expansion means more jobs and new opportunities. Thank you, Walmart, for your continued investment in our community.”

State representative Steve Ross added, “Since 2015, Alamance County has been proud to be home to Walmart’s distribution center and we are thrilled by the decision to expand on that footprint which speaks to the great infrastructure and partnerships we have in place. This is outstanding news for Alamance County and the state of North Carolina.”

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

Walmart’s future footprint could potentially eclipse two other distribution centers currently located in the Hawfields-area industrial park. German grocer Lidl has a 919,840-square foot distribution center at 3815 Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway; and United Parcel Service also has 788,850 square feet of warehouse space underway at 2770 Sen. Ralph Scott Parkway.

The latest facility for Walmart represents a 21st-Century approach to retail logistics operations, the company said in a release Wednesday.

For example, associates that used to manually stack cases may work in a high-tech facility as an automation equipment operator and continue growing their career as an automation control center operator, automation technician or automation area manager,” according to the release.  “Plus, associates who have transitioned into these new roles tell us they are more enjoyable and satisfying, while also often resulting in higher base pay.”

The plans that have been filed with the city of Mebane call for the construction of a 599,006-square foot warehouse with 286 parking spaces; 693 parking spaces for storage trailers; 243 spaces for tractor (truck) parking; and 154 dock doors.

Preliminary construction plans for the second Walmart distribution center along Senator Ralph Scott 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.

The existing Walmart 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.

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