137,000 sq. foot store will be the second supercenter in Washington County.
by: Jaime Valdez Walmart has announced it is building a 137,900-square-foot store on Southwest 72nd and Dartmouth Road next to Costco.

Retail giant Walmart plans to build a new store at the corner of Southwest 72nd Avenue and Dartmouth Street.

The company is closing a deal with property owners PacTrust to purchase the 18-acre site to build a 137,900-square-foot supercenter on the vacant land.

Walmart hopes to complete its sale by the end of the month.

The supercenter is expected to open in 2013, and is one of several new Walmart stores cropping up in the area.

Walmart announced last year that it was opening smaller 'neighborhood market' stores in Beaverton, Raleigh Hills, Lake Oswego and West Linn.

The retail giant has also purchased property on Murray Boulevard near Scholls Ferry Road at the former Haggen Food and Pharmacy.

'We think Walmart stores in general can be a part of the solution for folks who are looking for a job or want more convenient access for low prices,' said Steven Restivo, Walmart senior director of community affairs. 'At the end of the day, we want our store format and size to be a reflection of the community and serve a real need.'

'Tigard First' predicted Walmart

This isn't the first time Walmart has considered building a store on the property.

Former Tigard state Rep. Larry Galizio blasted the retail giant in 2006 for trying to purchase the same property.

At the time, Pacific Realty Associates and PacTrust had proposed a 220,000-square-foot retail building, which Galizio was convinced would become a Walmart store, as well as two additional retail buildings totaling 15,200 square feet and a two-story parking structure.

Galizio formed Tigard First, a group dedicated to blocking Walmart from locating a store in Tigard.

Galizio, now president of Clatsop Community Collegein Astoria, and others worried the huge retail store would force small stores in the region out of business, hurting the local economy.

That Walmart was never built. In its place, the city approved plans in 2009 for a 137,900-square-foot Target store on the property. That project included two smaller 12,000-square-foot retail buildings.

Target dropped out of the project in 2010.

Restivo said Walmart would use the same plans for the proposed Target store, including plans for more than 300 parking spaces on the 18-acre property, as well as Target's plans for road improvements.

'It's the exact same shell,' said Gary Pagenstecher, an associate planner for the city of Tigard. 'For the Target building, the Target references were removed (from the Planning Commission's final order) and made generic, but the building form remained the same.'

Walmart's community meetings

Restivo said Walmart has plans to meet with neighbors in the area and hold community meetings. But so far, no meetings have been scheduled.

'Where ever Walmart does business, we find it important to engage with the local community, and Tigard will be no different,' Restivo said. 'Our goal is to have conversations with folks who live and work in the immediate surrounding area.'

The new store will have competition. Southwest Dartmouth Street has several big-box giants, including Costco, Winco Foods, Petsmart and OfficeMax.

Debi Mollahan, director of the Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce, said a Tigard Walmart store would bring much-needed jobs to the community.

'One of the things I am excited about are the 300 jobs it will bring to the area,' she said. 'We need job growth in this area and in Washington County.'

Expect road construction

The city and Oregon's Department of Transportation expect Walmart to make major improvements to area roads, which have long been congested and could get worse with the addition of another large store.

Under its development plans, Walmart will pay for changes to Pacific Highway. It will also widen parts of 72nd Avenue to allow for more traffic in the area. Three new traffic signals will also be installed along Dartmouth Street.

Walmart must also improve Beveland Road, Hermoso Way, the Highway 217 off-ramps and the numerous driveway approaches and street intersections along the road.

A wetland next to the property between the proposed Walmart and Costco will be preserved under the agreement the city reached with the original Target decision.

By using the previously approved Target plan, Walmart does not need approval by the Planning Commission or City Council to begin construction.

Restivo said he expected construction to start by the end of the year, with final completion by October 2013.

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