Walmart Inc. is selling its 30 acres at the northwest corner of U.S. Highway 97 and Cooley Road because it has decided not to build a second store in Bend, company officials said.
Meanwhile, Fred Meyer is in the process of due diligence as it explores building a store to serve the north side of Bend in a development called the Gateway North project.
“After much deliberation, we have decided not to pursue development of property we’ve owned for some time in Bend,” said Tiffany Wilson, Walmart Inc. director of communications. “We operate more than 40 Walmart stores throughout Oregon, including two stores in Deschutes County in Bend and Redmond.”
Much of the development in this area hinges on how, or if, the city, county and state decide to realign U.S. Highway 97 and Cooley Road and how traffic improvements are made. Currently the state is awaiting word from the Federal Highway Administration on a grant that would be added to the $50 million that state lawmakers earmarked for the Cooley Road and U.S. Highway 97 intersection, said Tyler Deke, Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization manager.
Even if that money doesn’t come, or roadway improvements are not immediately made, the area is poised for change.
“We’re doing our due diligence for a possible new store on the southeast corner of U.S. 97 and Cooley Road,” said Jeffrey Temple, Fred Meyer director of corporate affairs. “We’ve long wanted to serve the north side of Bend.”
Currently there are no signed agreements between Fred Meyer, which is owned by Kroger, and a land owner, Temple said. Any new store probably wouldn’t be open until 2020. The area is home to Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, Staples, Les Schwab and Sherwin-Williams.
One proposed highway realignment calls for a portion of the eastern flank of Walmart’s land to be used by the Oregon Department of Transportation and for Cooley Road to be moved slightly north of its existing location, according to maps provided by HSM Pacific Realty, a Vancouver, Washington, real estate firm.
The asking price was not disclosed by Walmart or by real estate agent Matt Martinez.
The land is zoned commercial general, which allows for a broad mix of commercial uses that can benefit from higher classification roadways, according to the Bend zoning regulations.
Any realignment of the highway would complete what area transportation officials started more than a decade ago, Deke said “The realignment would complete the parkway in the north end of Bend,” Deke said. “The realignment would eliminate the need for stoplights.”
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