Project Focus: Springdale (Elm Springs), AR
Throughout our 40 year history of serving Walmart, CEI has worked on hundreds of Supercenter projects. One of our more recent supercenters is Store 4108 in Springdale, AR. This project was somewhat of joint development with the seller; however, the seller was not a seasoned developer. The overall project included over 70-acres of land, which was subdivided into 12 lots, including 11 retail lots and a regional detention facility. The project also included a public street extension. Working with the seller was rather challenging, as we had to educate them on the development process. Walmart was responsible for mass grading the bulk of the development and providing utility stubs to all lots. Ultimately, Walmart purchased three of the lots: one for the Supercenter, one for a Walmart fueling station, and one for future development/sale. The fueling station included the first 1,400 SF convenience store for Walmart, which was the largest Walmart fuel convenience store at that time.
One of the unique challenges included getting the City of Springdale to agree to share the costs for infrastructure improvements. These improvements included over 2,000 LF of a three-lane public road extension and approximately 1,750 LF of offsite drainage improvements (48-inch & 54-inch RCP). Walmart was seeking $1-million in cost sharing from the City of Springdale; however, CEI convinced the city to contribute $1.25-million in public funds.
Another challenge was the regional detention facility housed within the 70-acre development. With approximately 30-acres of offsite storm water runoff draining through the development from across I-49, Walmart Legal was adamant that they did not want to own the then proposed detention facility property. CEI help Walmart convince the city to not only maintain the detention facility but take ownership of it. That was not an easy task, as the city also did not want the burden of owning and maintaining this facility.
Over the years, Walmart has turned to CEI to help them start many new programs. When Walmart started the Sam’s Club expansion work, CEI was the only selected CEC for the program. A more recent example would be the grocery pickup model. Walmart selected CEI to assist with the onsite grocery pickup (OGP) program. Our first OGP project is located in Bentonville and is a standalone pickup facility (i.e. no attached or adjacent supercenter or neighborhood market store). This project was especially challenging, as there were no standards in place for such a facility, and CEI had to coordinate closely with Walmart personnel, as well as other consultants to make the project come together in a short period of time. Soon after the grocery pickup facility was underway, Walmart turned to CEI to help establish not only prototype plans for OGP facilities attached to stores but also to create OGP concept plans for stores in Alabama, Arizona, and Colorado – states in which CEI did not have offices.