Walmart Introduces Plans to Convert Parking Lot Acreage into Town Centers
BENTONVILLE, AR - It was Albert Einstein who said “imagination is more important than knowledge.” Taking these words to heart, Walmart is running with an idea concocted from a behemoth imagination: that of the Walmart Town Center.
LB Johnson, Walmart’s Vice President of U.S. Realty Operations, presented the idea of these town centers at the 2018 International Council of Shopping Centers Southeast Conference & Deal Making. He stated that the grocery giant is evaluating whether it will transform underutilized land—such as parking lots—into new offerings like restaurants, shops, food halls, entertainment venues, and more.
“We want to provide community space, areas for the community to dwell—a farmer’s market, an Easter egg hunt, trick or treating,” Johnson said. “We want to provide pedestrian connectivity from our box to the experiential zones that are planned on our footprint. We want to augment these experiences and activities with more food and beverage, with health and fitness, essential services and entertainment.”
Walmart's new website, Walmart Reimagined, showcases what plans for these centers might look like, and they look mighty fine—in my humble opinion. Some include walking paths, family-friendly gathering spots, and a host of entertainment and dining options. Johnson also stated that Walmart might add apartments to these sites to create a live-work-play environment.
“As we begin to look across the country and evaluate the Walmart Town Center opportunities, we will be tapping the talent, expertise, and partnership from members of this community to support our efforts,” Johnson said.
One such Town Center is slated to crop up in Loveland, Colorado, where the retailer has plans to break ground on the project next spring. That site—already a Supercenter—has acres of vacant land next to the store and 6-8 acres of parking lot; an ideal spot for a Town Center, Johnson noted.
“A transformation is underway,” Johnson said. “We are working with the local community to really master-plan a vision, not only for Walmart, but shared with the municipality. We are using terms like collaboration space. We are thinking through dwelling space...We are going to hold ourselves accountable to the community to improving well being.”
A video shown at the conference suggested that Walmart could possibly add restaurants such as Bartaco, Shake Shack, and Chipotle, Austin Business Journal noted.
As consumers become enamored with the idea of a “shopping experience,” will we see more of these Town Centers? AndNowUKnow will keep you up-to-date with the latest in retail.