Walmart developers agreement approved

More city council action took place in city hall last Thursday indicating the likelihood that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will follow through on its proposal to construct a 120,807 sq. ft. merchandise and grocery store in Princeton within a year and a few months

Representatives of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. had already secured final plat approval from the city last August. Also, the council agreed at that time to combine lots 3, 4, 5, and 6, Block 1, at the Rivertown Crossing development into one large 14.488-acre lot, known as Lot 1, Block 1, Rivertown Crossing Second Addition. Representatives at that meeting said the plan is for construction to begin this coming spring and to be completed in the first quarter of 2013.

Rivertown Crossing is located south of Highway 95, north of First Street, west of Highway 169 and east of Twenty-first Avenue.

Wal-Mart representatives have not yet picked up the building permit. Carie Fuhrman, the city’s zoning officer and development director, said last Thursday that once the general contractor is chosen, it will pick up that permit.

The Wal-Mart development agreement the council passed last Thursday spells out the obligations for Wal-Mart and the city in the project and here are some of the details.

Wal-Mart will have to pay the following fees to the city, rounded to the nearest dollar:

• water availability charge – $129,668

• sewer availability charge – $142,448

• electrical service charge – $23,933

• developer’s share of street lights – $42,500

• city legal services (not to exceed) – $4,500

• city engineering services (not to exceed) – $15,000.

Total – $358,049.

Wal–Mart is also obligated to furnish the city with a letter of credit as financial security totaling $500,500 to guarantee compliance with the agreement terms. Those include the construction of private improvements. The amount of the security was calculated as follows:

• erosion control – $150,000

• landscaping – $300,000

• connections to city-installed sanitary sewer system – $2,000

• sidewalks – $8,500

• connections to city-installed storm sewer – $6,000

• connections to city-installed water system – $4,000

• surveying and staking – $30,000.

Under the development agreement Wal-Mart is not obligated to construct or install the improvements, provide the city with any of the financial guaranties, or perform any other obligation described in this agreement unless and until the developer or its contractor obtains and pays for all necessary building permits to construct the proposed Walmart store and other improvements described herein and, in its sole discretion, undertakes to construct the store.

Therefore it appears the project remains a proposal until the building permit is picked up.

But Dave Thompson, chair of the Princeton City Planning Commission, who also signed the plat for Wal-Mart just as the mayor did, said on Monday that it is unlikely Wal-Mart wouldn’t follow through with the project. That is considering the amount of money Wal-Mart has invested so far including up-front engineering fees and just recently closing on the deal to buy the land at Rivertown Crossing, Thompson said.