Walmart has filed plans with Roeland Park that call for spending $500,000 on remodeling its store at 5150 Roe Ave. with the most noticeable element being a more attractive garden center, according to city officials.
The improvements are being made as a follow-up to the decision in early October the store would remain open after plans for a new, much larger Walmart at the proposed Mission Gateway development fell through.
Mayor Joel Marquardt welcomed the investment by Walmart, but said the city would like to see much more spent to assure its future presence at that location. Walmart has operated its store there for 20 years and it is a major source of sales tax revenue for the city.
“We are excited about the renovation, but the work doesn’t appear to give us confidence in their long-term commitment to Roeland Park,” he said. “We would like a building expansion or a strong effort toward an expansion that would show us they intend to stay.
The owners of the property where the Walmart is located, which includes a retail strip mall, CVS Pharmacy and Taco Bell have said they are eager to accommodate an expansion should the retail giant go that direction.
The current store is 112,000 square-feet, the super store that had been envisioned for Mission Gateway would have been 155,000 square-feet and included groceries.
Walmart officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
For now, John Jacobson, the building official for Roeland Park, said customers will notice a much cleaner and brighter store when the remodeling is completed. Plans also show an expansion of the pharmacy area and the introduction of an 800 square-foot “money center” with an ATM and tellers.
The plans call for repairs to the exterior stucco and repainting, new signage, new ornamental fencing around the garden center, restroom improvements, an interior remodeling, larger merchandise storage area and better fire egress.
“They’re reinvesting in the building envelope itself,” Jacobson said. “Better finishes are key elements.”
Work is expected to begin in February and the store will remain open during construction.