[Vision2020] Wal-Mart May Build in Both Cities

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Tue Apr 24 11:45:25 PDT 2007

>From today's (April 24, 2007) Lewiston Tribune -

Rumor has it that Wal-Mart is looking to expand to Viola and Helmer.


Wal-Mart may build in both cities
Retailer reveals possible plans for Lewiston and Clarkston


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The possibility of two Wal-Mart Supercenters in the Lewiston-Clarkston
Valley surfaced Monday as a spokeswoman for the world's largest retailer
said her employer viewed the two cities as distinct markets. 

Wal-Mart wants to have a super center in Clarkston and another in Lewiston,
said Karianne Fallow, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart in Boise. 

The existing Lewiston Wal-Mart, with 117,000 square feet at Thain Grade and
Stewart Avenue, would close if Wal-Mart were able to replace it with a
Lewiston super center, Fallow said. 

An expansion at the existing Lewiston site is impossible because of space

Super centers require about 200,000 square feet because they carry groceries
in addition to toys, clothing, toiletries and electronics sold at the
discount stores like Wal-Mart has in Lewiston.

Fallow's statements Monday appear to contradict ones she made in October
when she said Wal-Mart might move out of Lewiston if it were able to open a
Clarkston super center. She said the previous story was inaccurate and
resulted from "miscommunication'' with the Tribune.

The latest twist comes at a time when some expect an announcement soon about
the acquisition of about 25 acres immediately west of Costco in Clarkston by
a big-box retailer.

"I can't confirm we have bought that property, but I can confirm we are
still looking very seriously at Clarkston as a market,'' Fallow said. 

No change in ownership of the land had been documented at the Asotin County
Courthouse as of late Monday afternoon. Fourteen acres immediately west of
Costco are held by Peter Greene and other unnamed owners, according to the
assessor's office. The mailing address is to Marc Rogers of Portland, Ore.

Six acres each in the vicinity are owned by B&L Construction that lists John
Larson of Asotin in its mailing address and Clarkston Estates. The latter is
affiliated with Bill Larson of Clarkston, Bill Larson said.

John Larson is Bill Larson's nephew, Bill Larson added. John Larson manages
assets of his late father for his mother, Bill Larson said.

Fallow couldn't provide a time line for the development of a Clarkston super
center since any project would have to go through city development
processes. "That would be totally up in the air at this point.''

Clarkston city officials aren't waiting for confirmation from Wal-Mart. The
city has discussed the potential impact of a new big-box retailer during at
least two public meetings. 

How much financial impact a departure of Wal-Mart could have on Lewiston is
not clear. 

The state doesn't reveal how much individual businesses pay in sales tax
because the law prohibits it, said Renee Eymann, a spokeswoman for the Idaho
State Tax Commission in Boise. 

It's also not possible to compare Nez Perce County's sales tax revenues in
the early 1990s before Wal-Mart's arrival with the year after its Lewiston
store opened. Any business with locations in more than one county only has
to report what it collects in sales tax on a statewide basis, Eymann said. 

Wal-Mart pays about $140,000 per year in property taxes on its Nez Perce
County store. 

Lewiston City Manager John C. (Jay) Krauss has said vacant big-box stores
aren't necessarily a liability. The owners of an empty K-Mart building in
one town where he worked paid $50,000 annually in property taxes and the
building required few city services.


Math Challenge:  With three Wal-Mart Super Centers (Pullman, Lewiston, and
Clarkston) totaling 2.1 million square feet, how many square feet of store
space is that for each and every man, woman, and child in the quad-cities
(Moscow, Pullman, Lewiston, and Clarkston) area?

Seeya round town, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"We're a town of about 23,000 with 10,000 college students. The college
students are not very active in local elections (thank goodness!)."

- Dale Courtney (March 28, 2007)

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