Thursday, May 15, 2003

Wal-Mart Supercenter due in W. Chester



By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - A Wal-Mart Supercenter likely is coming to this Butler County township - but its debut means an existing Wal-Mart about a mile away is all but sure to shut down, leaving a vacant building.

The new superstore is planned for 75 acres on the northwest corner of Interstate 75 and Cincinnati-Dayton Road, township records show.

West Chester officials predict the current Wal-Mart at Tylersville Road and I-75 won't stay empty long.

"Wal-Mart is a great organization," West Chester Township Administrator Dave Gully said. "Someday, I want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart. I don't think the grass is going to grow in that parking lot."

Plans for a Wal-Mart superstore were confirmed for the first time Wednesday in an e-mail that Brian Elliff, West Chester's planning and zoning administrator, sent to several other township officials.

"I received a call from the project manager today to set up a (pre-application) meeting for Super Wal-Mart on the Neyer property," Elliff wrote. "I had happened to work with this same engineer on a Sam's Club, and was able to guess what he was calling about."

Wal-Mart officials did not return calls Wednesday.

A representative of Neyer Properties Inc. of Evendale, which owns the land, also would not discuss the project Tuesday, saying the potential tenant would decide when an announcement would come.

Last summer, a deal that Neyer had for the parcel with Steiner & Associates of Columbus - developers of Newport on the Levee and Easton Town Center - to build a lifestyle center with a movie theater crumbled when West Chester officials denied approval of the cinema.

This will be Butler County's second supercenter. A Wal-Mart store that opened last year in Fairfield Township is being expanded into a supercenter, according to township officials.

Other Tristate Wal-Mart Supercenters, which sell goods as varied as groceries, garden supplies and automotive services, are in Lawrenceburg, Ind., and Dry Ridge, Ky. And a 183,917-square-foot store is expected to begin construction this spring in Fort Wright, Ky.

E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com.



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