By Jim Davis HBJ Editor
EVERETT — Wal-Mart expects to open its newest store in Everett later this year across the street from the Everett Mall.
The 90,000-square-foot store will occupy the former Top Foods supermarket at 1605 SE Everett Mall Way. The retail giant bought the property about four years ago for $10 million.
“We had an opportunity to purchase the former Top Foods in 2010, and the planning to bring forward a store that is a good fit for our customers and the community took place over the subsequent years,” said Wal-Mart spokewoman Rachel Wall in an email.
The store is expected to employ 150 people. Wal-Mart plans to open a temporary hiring center near the site this summer.
Since Wal-Mart is opening in a former grocery store, it’s already in the right zoning for a new store, said Lanie McMullin, the city’s economic development director. All Wal-Mart needed were building permits for renovations.
Crews were already on hand working on the interior of the building on Wednesday. A chain-link fence was around the building exterior.
Wal-Mart only has one other store in Everett, located in the south part of the city along Highway 99. This will be the seventh Wal-Mart in Snohomish County. The most recent one to open was a 147,000-square-foot superstore in Marysville last year.
The average size of a Walmart store is around 108,000 square feet. So the new location across from the Everett Mall is smaller than other Wal-Marts.
Wall said there are some limitations in the reuse of an existing building, but she said the new store is similar in size to other stores in Washington, including ones in Oak Harbor, Bellevue and Othello.
The store will feature energy-efficient technology and environmentally friendly features to reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. That includes LED lighting for the exterior sign.
Top Foods, owned by Bellingham’s Haggen Food, operated in the building for more than 26 years before closing in 2010, saying the area was hard to compete in.
Haggen’s decision close the Top Foods was made not long after WinCo opened a supermarket about a mile away near an existing Costco. Trader Joe’s is a short distance to the west of the site, located at 1605 SE Everett Mall Way.