North Adams Walmart construction delayed


NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The start of construction for the 160,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter on Curran Memorial Highway has been delayed, but company officials confirmed Monday that the project will get under way in the coming weeks.

"We are currently out to bid on the project," Chris Buchanan, a company spokesman, said in an email to the Transcript on Monday.

"Once we receive bids, we usually take a few weeks to review them internally."

The big box retailer had initially planned to have construction start by the end of March, but has said that its goal is to have ground broken by the end of its first quarter of the year -- which ends on April 30.

Construction is expected to take 14 to 18 months to complete.

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"My understanding is that the project is out to bid and will be in the works in a very short time," Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said Monday. "The worst-case scenario is that they move the construction start date into May."

The mayor said he became a little wary at the end of February, when the Wal-Mart architect, Cross River Architects, of Cross River, N.Y., asked to extend the project’s construction permits out until Oct. 27.

"Initially the letter stated that the former property owner had yet to fulfill some obligations at the site, but after speaking with Robert Eberts of Cross River Architects, he said that obligation had been taken care of," Alcombright said. "It’s my understanding that there was an issue that slowed down the ability of the project to go out to bid. In addition, Building Inspector William Meranti said that it is not unusual for architects to ask for extensions on big projects like this."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. purchased the 23.5 acre site on Curran Memorial Highway on Dec. 19, 2011 from Ceruzzi Holdings, of Fairfield, Conn., for $7.35 million. Building permits for the site were filed in late October 2011.

The new Walmart Supercenter will be nearly double the size of the current 98,000-square-foot store on Curran Memorial Highway, and will include a full-size grocery store with a deli, bakery, meat department, produce section and dry and frozen goods. Plans also call for a vision center and pharmacy, in addition to its traditional general merchandise offerings.

The store is expected to bring in 120 new full- and part-time jobs. Wal-Mart plans to keep its current location open until the Supercenter opens. It then plans to sell the store through its real estate company.


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