Papers detail plans for new Versailles Wal-Mart

gkocher1@herald-leader.comApril 8, 2014 

VERSAILLES — It's finally publicly confirmed: Wal-Mart is bringing a superstore to Versailles.

In a project that had been rumored for months, a consulting engineering company filed preliminary paperwork Monday for a Wal-Mart with the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission office in Versailles.

The documents show that the Arkansas-based retailer wants to build a superstore on 57 acres at the northwest corner of Blue Grass Parkway and Ky. 33 (Troy Pike) owned by Howard E. "Eddie" and Julia Sellers.

The property was annexed to Versailles in 2012, and it was rezoned that year to allow some business uses.

The 158,583-square-foot store would include a gas station in front of the building. (The retail space would be 118,096 square feet.)

The store would have 636 parking spaces, including 28 for disabled shoppers, according to the documents.

The Technical Review Committee is scheduled to review the plans at 10 a.m. Monday in the second-floor courtroom of the Woodford County Courthouse.

The committee reviews technical aspects of the proposal, such as whether it meets utility requirements and regulations of the county planning ordinance. It then recommends the project to the full planning and zoning commission. If the commission approves, no further approval will be necessary from the Versailles City Council.

The paperwork was filed by Carlson Consulting Engineers of Bartlett, Tenn.

The documents do not say when construction would start or when the store would open. Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott said his understanding was that the store would open in late summer 2015.

Traugott said the superstore was an important development for Versailles.

"Our proximity to Lexington, Frankfort and Georgetown is one of our best attributes, but it also poses one of our greatest challenges in ... keeping people shopping locally," Traugott said. "Having something like a Wal-Mart here will allow people to stay here, to not make that initial trip to Lexington, where they would eat, fill up their gas tanks, maybe get their hair cut. As soon as people cross that county line, I think we lose them."

As of Oct. 31, Wal-Mart had 100 stores in Kentucky. Those were 76 supercenters, eight discount stores, seven Neighborhood Markets and nine Sam's Clubs. Those stores employed 28,454 people at an average wage of $13.18 an hour for full-time employees in the supercenters, Sam's Clubs and Neighborhood Markets.

Frankfort, Lawrenceburg and Lexington have Wal-Marts. Lexington and Nicholasville have Sam's Clubs. Versailles has a Kmart and a Kroger but no other large national retailer.

Wal-Mart announced in late March that it was putting a supercenter in Louisville's West End, on the site of a former Philip Morris cigarette plant near Broadway and 18th Street.

Wal-Mart operates more than 11,000 stores in 27 countries. For the fiscal year that ended in January, Wal-Mart's net sales increased 1.6 percent, to $473.1 billion, and it returned $12.8 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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