HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Could another super-sized Walmart be heading to Huntsville? City leaders say that a leading candidate has emerged on South Memorial Parkway, not far from one of Walmart’s current locations across the road.
Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling told WHNT News 19 that officials from Walmart’s corporate offices recently visited Mason Plaza, just south of Parkway Place Mall, and nearly across from Huntsville’s original Walmart on Drake and the Parkway. Kling said the city’s planning department told him that Walmart has an option to buy the land from the property’s owners. The proposed supercenter would dwarf Walmart’s current site off Drake, a factor that Kling says brings far more cons than pros.
“I think there are legitimate concerns,” said Kling, who does not support the proposed move. “The impact on neighborhoods, also, the traffic congestion that would be created…I do understand the state highway department would have to give their approval because this would impact the Parkway service road, and there’s some very significant traffic concerns they’re going to have to look at carefully.”
The proposed Walmart Supercenter would not need to have city council approval, but does require a green light from the Alabama Department of Transportation.
Several businesses who are currently at Mason Plaza said they were first notified about the potential relocation more than a year ago. Businesses who still have several years left on their leases would have those leases bought off by the property owners if Walmart does indeed move.
“We’ve known for quite a while, it’s not like they’re throwing us over overnight,” said Angie Helms, co-owner of Neo-Mode Hair Salon. Helms said she has had ample time to scout out new locations for the salon if the move goes through.
“We’ve been looking. We have to because we have a business to run.”
Mason Plaza was built in 1976. Huntsville businessman Joseph Bragg owns the plaza, and was not available for comment.
Officials at Walmart headquarters in Arkansas were not available for comment