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Ahoskie Super Center delayed

AHOSKIE – Plans to construct a Wal Mart Super Center in Ahoskie have been delayed again.

For the second time in less than a year, Wal Mart officials have changed the timetable to build a new store in Ahoskie. The latest delay is unlike the first.

“To my understanding, Wal-Mart’s new CEO (Chief Executive Officer) cut back the number of new stores opening each year,” Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond said. “The new Ahoskie store was a part of that process as we fell into the next fiscal year (2009).”

According to Wal-Mart’s building plans, as listed on the company’s website, 281 Super Centers are in the works this year. That number declines over the next three years: 195 new stores in 2008, 170 in 2009 and 140 in 2010.

Hammond stressed that Wal Mart still plans to move forward with building a Super Center in Ahoskie. He said construction is now scheduled to begin in April of 2009.

In October of last year, Glen Wilkins, Senior Manager of Wal-Mart’s Public Affairs office in Atlanta, Ga., confirmed his company’s intentions to construct a 156,000 square-foot Super Center in Ahoskie in the empty field south of the current Wal Mart Discount Store. The original plans called for construction to begin in February of this year, but that timetable was suspended after soil samples revealed contaminants.

A new site was chosen just a few hundred yards to the south in the field adjacent to Freeman Metal Products. There, crews have surveyed the site and tests have been performed on the soil. It appears that will become the location of the new Super Center, only now at least one year later than expected.

Meanwhile, the Ahoskie Town Council, at their November meeting, read an update on the project and agreed to delay the annexation and rezoning of the property until December of 2008.

The property is owned by Mary Johnson.

According to Wilkins, without any major delays or weather-related work stoppages, it normally takes 10 months to construct a Super Center.

Plans call for the new Ahoskie Wal-Mart to include a garden center, full-service pharmacy and grocery store. Wilkins said there will be no tire and lube express or gas station at the Ahoskie location.