Plans take shape near new Wal-Mart market

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJune 17, 2014 

Workers remove Family Dollar signs Monday as the store prepares to move to its new location. Businesses are leaving the former Food Lion shopping center to make way for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.

JOHN MARKS — jmarks@lakewyliepilot.com

— Wal-Mart is the biggest, but not the only, new business coming to the center at Tom Hall and Doby’s Bridge roads.

Plans are taking shape for the overflow USA Tire & Auto Care building just across from the new Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Fort Mill Square. Fort Mill’s planning commission was scheduled to discuss the building last week, but it deferred the item as the developer works out details.

“They are now considering a tear down and rebuild rather than a full renovation, so the plans will change,” said Joe Cronin, town planning director.

The main USA Tire building isn’t impacted. However, the former hardware store beside it, which the tire business expanded into, will be impacted. Plans are to create a multitenant building that will include a relocated Los Aztecas; the popular restaurant, which has been a fixture in the strip mall, will be replaced by the Neighborhood Market.

“The customers ask me every day (if the restaurant was staying open),” said Daniel Barrales, manager at Los Aztecas.

Barrales said he is pleased to relocate in the same shopping center and among more businesses that could draw more customers, particularly the market. But he isn’t as excited about losing the deck his business added in recent years.

Los Aztecas could be closed for a week or two depending on how smoothly the transition goes. Barrales said Monday he is still waiting on a definite date for the move.

“September or October, not really sure,” he said.

Charleston-based Sunbelt Ventures is developing the property, including both the Wal-Mart and the smaller retail building. Kelley Glenn is in charge of retail leasing, site and market evaluation for Sunbelt and said a timeline hasn’t been set for tearing down the old shopping center, construction on Wal-Mart or for opening the smaller retail building.

Glenn expects there to be four or five tenants in the smaller building, including Los Aztecas, if the restaurant chooses. Other tenants haven’t been named.

“We are working with Los Aztecas to stay in the center if that’s what they choose to do,” Glenn said.

The retail building is about 6,000 square feet. It can be renovated or rebuilt up to 15,000 square feet.

“That existing building will remain, and we would look to expand it to 8,500 square feet,” Glenn said.

The owner of USA Tire was out of town, employees there said Monday morning. Employees hadn’t heard any updates from the developer on when they need to be out of the retail space.

The retail building doesn’t need rezoning. Developers are working with the planning commission on what type of materials will be used in the update.

Glenn said she is aware of excitement surrounding the redevelopment, something her company shares.

“We are certainly excited about it, too,” she said. “That’s a great property to improve upon.”

Revised appearance review plans for the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market were approved at last week’s planning commission meeting. Planning director Cronin estimated a litany of needed plans might take four to six weeks to complete. Then the former Food Lion shopping center storefront will be removed to make way for the new grocery store.

“Once everything is completed, we expect that they will move quickly on the demolition and new construction,” Cronin said.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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