If you’ve got $4.95 million to invest, you could be the proud owner of a Wal-Mart cast off store on roughly 20 acres of concrete in Port Angeles, Washington. Port Angeles is on the North Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, and is 18 miles south of Vancouver Island. Wal-Mart store #2196 is located at 3500 Route 101. The building was constructed in 1996, and then remodeled in 2003. But now this ‘old’ store — more than twice the size of a football field — has to go. Wal-Mart has hired Houston, Texas Realtor CB Richard Ellis to sell the store — one of two dead stores the retailer has in Washington State. Wal-Mart is selling the store for just over $38 per square foot. It’s 390′ wide by 300′ deep, and could pose a problem for the city, because not too many businesses need a store that huge. Wal-Mart plans to empty out this store by the fall of 2010, to move its business just across Highway 101 to a new location, where it will open up a superstore. According to the Penninsula Daily News, Clallam County officials created this blatantly wasteful use of resources by granting Wal-Mart a construction permit to create leap frog sprawl. The story is even more twisted, because the site for the new Wal-Mart supercenter is on the location of a dead Kmart that went under when Wal-Mart first came to Port Angeles. In order to build their new superstore, Wal-Mart had to get a demolition permit from the county to tear down the store of its former rival. The county no doubt was thrilled to find someone that would tear down the smaller Kmart store, which has been vacant for the past 12 years. Naturally, county and city officials are praying that the ‘old’ Wal-Mart will not sit abandoned for a dozen years — but Port Angeles officials seemed to have learned nothing from their ‘dark store’ experiences with big box chain stores. So the Kmart will be torn down, and another dead store will rise across the street. Eventually someone in the city will get the idea of asking developers to put up a demolition bond in escrow to pay for the cost of pulling these wasted boxes down if they sit empty for 12 consecutive months. Maybe Richard Ellis will find some buyer with $5 million to burn — but in this economy, it’s a safe bet that Port Angeles will be looking at a dead Wal-Mart for quite some time.
The land where Wal-Mart will soon begin building this superfluous superstore is actually located in unincorporated Clallam County, outside of the city limits for Port Angeles. The contractors for the store will be meeting with county permitting officials this week, according to the Penninsula News. “That isn’t required,” explained a county official, “but it is their due diligence to make sure they understand all of the terms of the permits.” The store will take 10 to 12 months to build, so Wal-Mart Realty has a year to unload their existing building, which is already listed as a “new” property on its lengthy website. Wal-Mart apparently told local officials that the new superstore would bring 300 jobs to the area, but first the retailer has to transfer all its existing employees across the street to work at the new store. But that is where most of the “new” jobs will be coming from. The county bent over backwards to give Wal-Mart whatever it needed to create a dead store. The county consolidated 8 lots into 2 in order to make this project work for Wal-Mart. The city is also lending a hand. This project could never have happened without the city hooking the new store up to a sewer line. Because the city and the county both had to help Wal-Mart out, the city and the county have entered into a revenue sharing agreement to split any increase in sales tax revenue once the superstore opens. And the city also agreed that it will not attempt to annex land along the Highway 101 corridor up to the Wal-Mart for another five years. But after that, the city could attempt to annex all this land into its borders, and take the sales tax that comes with it. But first, the city and the county want to see their dead Wal-Mart filled. None of this needed to happen, because the county could have insisted that Wal-Mart simply convert its existing store into a superstore. No permits would have been needed, no new empty stores would have been created. But if you’d like to make an offer on the building, or to have a property viewing, email CB Richard Ellis broker Cody Persyn at [email protected] If you wait long enough, you might be able to get this 13 year old Wal-Mart at a very low everyday price. Make them an offer. But be advised: according to the Terms and Conditions of the sale, this property will be sold on an “as-is, where is, with all faults” basis — kind of like the deal Wal-Mart offers most communities when it is seeking their permitting support.