A new building with a fueling station is quickly rising out of property 100 yards off Ringgold Road that once was the site of the city’s municipal pool.
The only sign on security fences surrounding the property are ones belonging to Hutton Co., a regional developer.
Matt Phillips, vice president of real estate with Hutton, said Thursday there was little he could confirm about the structure, other than the fact it is going to be a grocery store. He referred inquiries to an individual with the public relations department of Walmart.
Late Thursday afternoon, Walmart spokesperson Erica Jones confirmed the new building is indeed a future Walmart Neighborhood Market.
“We are excited to bring our Neighborhood Markets to the Chattanooga market to provide our customers there with the benefits Walmart offers closer to where they live and work,” Jones said in an e-mail.
“Our Neighborhood Market stores give customers quick and easy access to a wide variety of affordable products – fresh produce, a full grocery department with a bakery and deli, a drive-thru pharmacy with our popular $4 generic prescriptions, health and beauty supplies, select household items, plus a gas station.”
Jones said that the new store will generate additional tax revenue to the city, stimulate new investment and provide jobs to people with an opportunity to build a career.
Bob Cansler, the Project Superintendent for Hutton Co., said the store is scheduled to have its Grand Opening on October 28. Cansler said construction on the 41,112 square-foot structure began on March 16.
“We are in the process of fitting all the refrigeration equipment in the building,” Cansler said Thursday via telephone. “It will take the owners a month to set up inside the store.”
At one point during construction of the building, a green and white Walmart sign was affixed to the security fence along Ringgold Road.
Walmart Neighborhood Markets were designed in 1998 as a smaller-footprint option for communities in need of a pharmacy, affordable fresh groceries and select household merchandise. Neighborhood Markets average 38,000 square feet and employ approximately 95 associates. Walmart currently operates more than 600 Neighborhood Markets nationwide
Last year Walmart opened a Neighborhood Market in Ft. Oglethorpe, records show. That store, according to various news outlets, offers 28,000 different grocery items to its customers.
The City of East Ridge sold the six-acre site along Ringgold Road to Polestar Development last year for about $600,000. The city had acquired the property from the East Ridge Youth Foundation about five years ago for roughly $130,000. That was the amount the ERYF owed to a local bank which was in the process of foreclosing on the note.
The city had initially earmarked the property for a new playground for the central portion of East Ridge. Those plans subsequently changed when interest was shown in developing the property and putting it back on the tax rolls.