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Walmart takes over former Zupan's store in Raleigh Hills

UPDATE: Plans for Cornell Road location move forward, but nothing has been filed for Sexton Mountain site
by: Jaime Valdez Walmart plans to develop this former Zupan’s store in Raleigh Hills and transform it into a 25,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market.

Walmart plans to breathe new life into a former Raleigh Hills supermarket site at Southwest Apple Way and Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway that's been dormant since the spring of 2009.

Walmart officials have filed a pre-application plan with the city of Beaverton's Community Development Department to establish an approximately 25,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market at 8225 S.W. Apple Way.

The site was home to Zupan's Market until the local family-owned business closed in May 2009, leaving three Portland-area stores. A fourth Zupan's is expected to open in Lake Oswego later this year.

Walmart is preparing a design review compliance letter to submit to the city, said Delia Garcia, a company spokeswoman. The store would move into the existing building following an extensive renovation.

'We are planning a Walmart market at this location, which will bring access to affordable groceries to the community,' Garcia said. 'The market will offer a quick and convenient shopping experience for customers who need groceries, pharmaceuticals and general merchandise.'

Garcia said the number of employees for the store has not yet been determined.

With the process for the Raleigh Hills store just beginning, Walmart is farther along in its plans to develop a similar market at the former Ashley Furniture HomeStore on Northwest Cornell Road near the northeast corner of 173rd Avenue, said Don Mazziotti, the city's community development director.

'The pre-application has been received, and we expect that to be a project very much like the Ashley Furniture deal,' he said.

The Cornell Road store, one of a possible 17 Walmart is considering for the greater Portland area, is expected to employ 95 workers.

'We expect to have final site and building plan approval within a few weeks,' Garcia said. 'The next step will be to pull the building permits. We will continue to work with the city on this process.'

Launched in 1998 as the Neighborhood Market, the newly re-branded Walmart market - at 40,000 square feet or less, a quarter of the size of the company's controversial superstores - typically employs 80 to 100 employees and offers about 28,000 items.

While Walmart purchased the former Haggen Food and Pharmacy site on Southwest Murray Boulevard in the Sexton Mountain neighborhood in April, the company has no immediate plans to develop the property. The site includes an approximately 60,000-square-foot building and parking lot.

The former Haggen site is strictly limited to grocery store use, Mazziotti noted in May.

'If Walmart were to open a store, it could only be a grocery store. It could not sell a full array of products (Walmart) would otherwise sell,' he said, adding the city has received several telephone inquiries regarding the property's future.

In 2006, Walmart fought to build a 152,308-square-foot superstore at Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard and Barnes Road. The conditional-use proposal came under fire during hearings from Cedar Mill neighbors and a local anti-Walmart group.

The City Council eventually shot down the proposal, saying improvements to the busy intersection would be too costly and would have added to the area's traffic congestion.

After the rejection, Walmart did not appeal the decision or submit new plans for a store in the area.

Now five years later, Garcia said the company looks forward to reaching out to new customer bases in the Beaverton area.

'We are eager to begin redevelopment of this site, and making it a vibrant part of the community,' she said of the Raleigh Hills location.