Local News

Wal-Mart Scraps Plans for Knightdale Supercenter

Posted March 4, 2008 2:06 p.m. EST
Updated March 4, 2008 6:24 p.m. EST

— Wal-Mart has decided not to build a Supercenter store in Knightdale that was to be the anchor of a proposed 440,000 square-foot shopping development, the town's mayor said Tuesday.

Mayor Russell Killen said he was frustrated and called the decision a major loss for the town, said he is frustrated and disappointed by Wal-Mart's decision and calls it a major loss for Knightdale.

"It means, over five years, about $1 million of lost revenue to the town," Killen said.

The plans for the shopping establishment, which would be called Village Parks Commons, have been on hold for two years while the local citizens group, Citizens Against Residential Encroachment, fought a legal battle with the town over the development.

Killen said he believes Wal-Mart decided not to build the store because of the public opposition and delays in breaking ground.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Tara Stewart said Tuesday, however, the company was downsizing the number of supercenters and that the Knightdale store "did not make our internal economic hurdle."

CARE, which argued the town didn't properly notify residents, opposes the shopping center, saying it is too close to their properties and would bring increased traffic and activity to the area.

"Big-box retail centers belong in a highway district and, specifically, not in a neighborhood district," said John Allen, an opponent of the shopping center.

The town won a lawsuit and a subsequent appeal, and CARE has asked that the state Supreme Court hear the case.

Killen said the estimated $900,000 the Wal-Mart would have generated and the $100,000 the town has paid in legal fees could equate to lost projects, including a new fire station and soccer field – they might not be possible without a tax increase, he said.

"We were trying to find a win-win situation, and the town simply forced it into a win-lose situation," Allen said.