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Mall of Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Closes Delta Square Location

Store to be replaced by Mall of Wal-Mart Now follows Mall - Delta Square

Wal-Mart Files for Permit At Former Mall of Memphis Site - March 31, 2007

After months of waiting to see what the retail giant might do, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. apparently is now making good on its interest in transforming the 95-acre Mall of Memphis site at Perkins Road and Interstate 240.

Within the past few days, Wal-Mart filed a $7.1 million building permit for 4438 Mall of Memphis Blvd. with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement, according to The Daily News Online, A spokesman for Wal-Mart did not return calls by press time.

The tenant will be Wal-Mart Supercenter Store #1031, which is the store number for an existing Wal-Mart store at 5000 American Way, about a mile and a half away.

Will Wal-Mart leave the Delta Square location to build on the old Mall site?

It was unclear at press time whether the Wal-Mart that will be built on the Mall of Memphis site eventually will replace the American Way location.

The Wal-Mart store at 5000 American Way is surrounded by a decaying shopping center.

Why would Wal-Mart want to leave the Delta Square Shopping Center?


Memphis Daily News

Wal-Mart's Plans for Mall of Memphis Site Trickle Out of Code Enforcement Office


Planning officials have begun their review of architectural drawings and detailed plans for a Wal-Mart Supercenter that now appears likely to be built on part of the 95-acre site once home to the Mall of Memphis. The news heralds a bona fide retail renaissance for the community surrounding the property at Perkins Road and Interstate 240, where negative perceptions about crime and a commercial exodus ultimately led to the Mall's undoing. Days before the mall closed in 2003, only 13 of 160 stores remained open.

The store itself is maintained much better than the surrounding area.

Wal-Mart first acknowledged last fall that the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant was under contract for 20 acres of the former Mall site. Since then, little else has been heard about the project, save for sporadic but generally positive comments about the benefits the real estate offers.

But now, the fact that Wal-Mart has filed a $7.1 million building permit and tasked one of its usual architectural partners with drawing up plans for a new store suggests the retailer is closer to the end of its planning process than the beginning.

Good to go?

Within the past few days, Wal-Mart filed a permit for 4438 Mall of Memphis Blvd. with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement, according to The Daily News Online, Code Enforcement head Allen Medlock confirmed that Wal-Mart filed more than one set of plans for the Mall of Memphis site.

"They brought their plans in earlier last week - they actually submitted a few different things," he said. Schematics of the proposed Supercenter identify Kansas-based BRR Architecture, which has designed hundreds of Wal-Mart stores around the country, as the project's architect. The company's plans also show a typical Wal-Mart property in the works at the Mall of Memphis site - a mercantile building measuring between 170,000 and 190,000 square feet.

It appears that little effort is spent on keeping Delta Square in good shape. Pieces that blow away are not replaced.

By comparison, the average size of a Wal-Mart Supercenter is 185,000 square feet, with a store inventory of about 142,000 items, according to company figures. In Tennessee, the world's largest retailer boasts 96 Supercenters, stores that basically combine a supermarket with more traditional Wal-Mart offerings.

A never-ending story...

Meanwhile, an even more accurate depiction of what the discount retail chain has in mind for its newest Memphis property may emerge once the design review is complete. Generally, Medlock said, it takes about four to five weeks to sufficiently dissect a project's architectural and planning-related documents.

Furthermore, it's now generally understood that Wal-Mart's strong interest in the former Mall site - coupled with the chain's star power - will draw other tenants to the sprawling property. A similar situation currently is playing out to the north of Shelby County, where the Covington Planning Commission approved a site plan for a new Home Depot store earlier this month.

That company's new location will be developed along U.S. 51, not far from a Wal-Mart Supercenter that opened last fall. Wal-Mart spokesman Dennis Alpert told The Daily News this week that the building permit filed for the former mall site is only an indication the retail giant is getting closer to making a decision about what it wants to do. It doesn't mean a decision already has been made, he said. "I literally was just in real estate meetings related to our five-year plan, and there's nothing moving on the Mall of Memphis," said Alpert, director of public affairs for Wal-Mart in Tennessee. "Should the decision to go forward come at some point in the future, this just allows the process to kick into gear much sooner."

Various variables

Also still unclear is whether the new Wal-Mart would replace an existing store at 5000 American Way, which sits about a mile and a half from the former Mall site. The tenant listed on the building permit that recently was filed is Wal-Mart Supercenter Store No. 1031 - the same store number for the American Way store. Back when Wal-Mart first acknowledged its interest in the new site, and even today, Alpert insisted the company isn't closing the nearby store, which operates within the Delta Square shopping center.

"We're in the business of opening stores, not closing them," Alpert said last fall.

When contacted a few days ago, he reiterated that Wal-Mart isn't planning on closing or consolidating the two stores at this time. At a minimum, though, news of the building permit at the former mall site likely is viewed as a positive by the city's retail real estate industry. Iconic Memphis developer, Henry Turley, told The New York Times in 2003 that the Mall of Memphis' eventual closure had to do with "the disposability of the cities we're building."

A Times story published shortly before the mall was shuttered, "An Enormous Landmark Joins Graveyard of Malls," lamented its end this way: "Few deaths have matched the magnitude of this mall's demise, or the magnitude of the insult of the immense black-and-brown bruise it leaves on the southeastern flank of the city."

Memphis Daily News This report compiled by Rosalind Guy with contributions from research analyst Kate Simone and reporters Andy Meek, Eric Smith and Amy O. Williams.


If you look at the pictures on this page (photo credit Doug Force), it will likely bring into question the idea that Wal-Mart would keep two stores open so close to each other, much less one in Delta Square. The Delta Square Shopping Center is literally falling apart. The location is way, way off the street and has no good visibility from anywhere.

The Mall property is the Land of Oz compared to where Wal-Mart operates today. predicts that 5000 American Way would be boarded up faster than the windows at the Destin Holiday Inn facing a fast approaching hurricane!

Security cameras dot the building

More cameras can be seen around the complex