Walmart is planning transformations of its vast parking lots into vibrant “town centers” offering restaurants, food halls, shops, parks, entertainment and homes.
The concept — dubbed Walmart Town Center — was unveiled by a Walmart executive speaking at ICSC’s Southeast Conference & Deal Making last week.
“We want to provide community space — areas for the community to dwell,” said L.B. Johnson, Walmart’s vice president of U.S. realty operations. “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.”
Vast underutilized parking lots like this one could be transformed into vibrant 'town centers' offering parks, entertainment, restaurants and other amenities
The first such development will take place at Walmart's Supercenter in Loveland, Colo., where the company intends to break ground next spring on about six acres of parking lot and 12 acres of vacant land. Similar projects are in the planning at roughly a dozen other sites across the U.S., according to the retailer’s website, which describes the addition of parks at some centers, shipping-container retail space at others, and food halls and food trucks at others still.
“A transformation is under way,” said Johnson, citing the Loveland project. “We are working with the local community to really master-plan a vision, not only for Walmart, but [also] shared with the municipality.”
Walmart had 5,358 stores across the U.S. as of July 31, according to its website, including 3,565 Supercenters and 597 Sam’s Clubs.
“As we begin to look across the country and evaluate the Walmart Town Center opportunities,” said Johnson, “we will be tapping the talent, expertise and partnership from members of this community to support our efforts.”
By Edmund Mander