By Pat Maurer
According to an article in the Traverse City Record Eagle last week, the planned Walmart Supercenter planned for Clare, and one planned in Kalkaska have been cancelled.
City Manager Ken Hibl said Wednesday that no one at the City has been notified that Walmart will not be building. He also said the City does not have anything to do with the proposed Walmart project other than permits for the project, some of which have been purchased.
Wednesday, Anne Hatfield, Walmart spokesperson said, “After much deliberation we have decided not to pursue development of a new store in Kalkaska or Clare at this time. We greatly appreciate the support of the communities, Clare and Kalkaska officials, and others as we have worked through the development process. We are committed to serving customers in and around Central and Northern Michigan and look forward to continuing to innovate our services and invest in improving our existing stores throughout the region.”
In February last year, Walmart completed the purchase of 14 acres adjacent to the 60 acre Clare North Industrial Park from Clare Northern Group who owns the remainder of the 200 acre parcel on Colonville Road north of the City.
Walmart first proposed the construction of the supercenter at the north end of the City in August of 2014. Plans for the supercenter were outlined in February, 2016, with a tentative ground breaking last spring and construction to begin in August. Those plans were delayed at the end of July last summer when the corporation asked for an extension of their approved site plan.
Infrastructure permits had been pulled, but no building plan permits applied for, Hibl said in a earlier interview. There had been visible work ongoing at the site on Colonville Road. “I believe they have already made a substantial investment in this project, CNG official Steve Stark said in November.
In November Walmart cancelled the purchase of a liquor license for the proposed supercenter in Clare, but told the Review that their plans had only been delayed, not cancelled. At that time, Anne Hatfield, Director of Communications for the Walmart Corporation said, “At this time, we still plan to build a new store in Clare, but as our customers’ needs evolve, we want to make sure our stores meet their needs.”
The new Clare store was expected to employ up to 300 associates. Hatfield said last February. The 150,000 square foot store would have included A pharmacy, garden center, tire & lube express and a fuel station.
According to the Record Eagle February 9, Hatfield “sent emails to Kalkaska County officials informing them of the retailer’s scrapping plans to open stores in both Kalkaska and Clare.”
The Eagle reported, “Hatfield said Walmart officials based the decision on several reasons, including improving the long-term shopping experience for all Walmart customers.”