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Sam's Club plans third Wichita store at 29th and Maize

Friday, August 17 2012 12:00 AM

Sam's Club plans third Wichita store at 29th and Maize

Wichita Business Journal by Josh Heck, Reporter and John Stearns, Reporter



Plans are in the works for Wichita’s third Sam’s Club, this one at the northeast corner of 29th Street North and Maize Road.

A company spokesman tells the Wichita Business Journal that Sam’s Club plans to build one of its membership warehouse stores there, contingent on city of Wichita approval of a zoning change at the 39-acre site from single-family residential to limited commercial.

“It’s a great location for Sam’s Club,” saysMark Scott, public relations manager for the company in Bentonville, Ark. “It was just a fantastic location for a Sam’s Club with other emerging businesses and the ability to be part of a growth area.”

A zoning application was filed with the city Aug. 6, but the property owners aren’t talking about what is planned, saying discussions are preliminary.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Commission is scheduled to hear the request for a zoning change on Sept. 20. The zoning request lists the owners of the property as Curtis W. and Karen S. Rink of Wichita, and Leo M. and Vivian Rink of Wichita, and they list their agent as Kevin Gaskey of Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. in Dallas.

If the zoning change is approved, Sam’s would buy the site, and it would be parceled out to include two large tracts, one of which presumably would accommodate Sam’s, and several smaller businesses.

Scott says it’s too early to speculate on the timing of the project or its scope, but the company hopes to break ground next spring. The stores typically take nine months to a year to build, he says.

This store would be the state’s eighth Sam’s Club. The other two Wichita clubs are at 6200 W. Kellogg Drive and 3415 N. Rock Road. The new Sam’s would be roughly 7 miles from the West Kellogg location.

Both Wichita Sam’s stores received more than $6 million combined in renovations in 2009 as part of a national effort to update the look of Sam’s Club stores.

Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is the nation’s eighth-largest retailer and a leading membership warehouse club with more than 47 million members.

Sam’s Club’s plans come amid reports that its key competitor, Costco Wholesale Corp., has been scouting property in Wichita.

Filling the gap

Sam’s Club would be just the latest big-box along the active Maize Road corridor and would be positioned between two other big-box stores: Lowe’s, which is south of 29th, andMenards which is south of 37th Street North. Academy Sports & Outdoors is building a 73,000-square-foot store immediately north of Lowe’s.

Sam’s Clubs in Kansas average 132,000 square feet, Scott says. Sam’s and Walmart employ about 19,700 people in Kansas.

During its last fiscal year, Sam’s Club and Walmart spent $2.3 billion for merchandise and services with 1,939 suppliers in Kansas, Scott says. The company collected on behalf of Kansas more than $315 million in sales taxes and paid more than $50 million in state and local taxes statewide, he adds.

That Sam’s is planning to build at 29th and Maize is welcome news to some with property interests in the Maize Road corridor.

“I think it’s great because it starts filling everything in,” says Tom Lassley, a residential and commercial real estate consultant at Keller Williams-Signature Partners. “Any time you get a larger retailer in the area, it brings smaller businesses around it.”

The proposed Sam’s site is across Maize Road from land where Community Bank of Wichita has indicated it eventually plans to build a branch. While the bank doesn’t have a timetable yet for that plan, the addition of Sam’s makes the area even more attractive, says Bank President Steve Carr.

“It increases the activity and traffic and gives more exposure to the general public,” Carr says. “That’s an area of growth, and we want to be a part of it.”



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