Wal-Mart set for Arlington

By Amy Rolph Herald Writer

ARLINGTON — A Wal-Mart Supercenter is coming to the Smokey Point neighborhood, just a two freeway exits up I-5 from another Wal-Mart at the Tulalip Quil Ceda Village.

Construction will start Monday, and the store is slated to open 10 to 12 months later.

The groundbreaking comes after an arduous series of legal battles between community activists and the Arkansas-based chain. But even with another store a short drive away, Wal-Mart officials say Smokey Point is the right place to set up shop.

“We obviously do a lot of market research to find appropriate sites where our customer base is underserved by our stores,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karianne Fallow. “Arlington is, we think, going to be a great place for us.”

The chain also has branches in Everett and Lynnwood.

The supercenter, which will include a grocery department, is being built just off Highway 531 at 43rd Avenue NE. A Safeway store is nearby.

Another grocery store not far away closed its doors several years ago shortly after Wal-Mart announced its plans.

Fallow declined to comment on exactly how much construction will cost: “We invest millions of dollars into our new stores,” she said.

Arlington officials estimate the cost of construction at about $8 million.

Wal-Mart has 31 superstores and 18 discount stores in Washington. Those locations employ nearly 18,000 people.

The Smokey Point store will be smaller than most supercenters, about 150,000 square feet compared with the average size, nearly 200,000 square-feet.

After completion, the store will employ about 300 workers.

Herald writer Gale Fiege contributed to this report. Read Amy Rolph’s small-business blog at www.heraldnet.com/TheStorefront. Contact her at 425-339-3029 or arolph@heraldnet.com.