Demolition of former Fred Meyer store begins

Building could possibly be replaced by Walmart grocery store



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Although Wal-Mart Stores Inc. still hasn’t confirmed whether it plans to build a Neighborhood Market-sized grocery store at Fourth Plain and Grand boulevards, demolition has begun on the site’s long-vacant Fred Meyer store.

The site is owned by Redwood, Calif.-based GID Properties LLC. Permits to demolish the building were issued to General Client Services, or GCS, on Feb. 12, according to Patti McEllrath, an associate planner with Vancouver’s Community Development Department.

“But I still haven’t heard anything from the applicant,” she said.

Redevelopment plans were submitted last year to build a 42,000-square-foot grocery store on the site, but no company name is attached to the proposal submitted to the city to tear down the old store and build the smaller store. Development plans include a pad reserved on the site to accommodate a future fast-food restaurant.

Two clues point to Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, whose presence is steadily increasing in the Vancouver-Portland area.

The listed applicant, PacLand, commonly develops stores for Wal-Mart in the local area. And the proposed store’s size matches Wal-Mart’s 42,000- to 43,000-square-foot Walmart Neighborhood Market concept. The stores are smaller than the

much-larger Walmart SuperCenters and carry fresh produce, meats, groceries and household items.

Wal-Mart officials did not respond to phone messages and emails on Wednesday.

However, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is bringing its market-style store concept into the area. The company has already begun redevelopment work on its first Vancouver Neighborhood Market in the former WinCo Foods store site in the Vancouver Plaza shopping center off state Highway 500 and Thurston Way. The store will take up less than half of the giant former WinCo Foods space and is slated to open later this year.

McEllrath said developers of the former Fred Meyer site will have to apply for final site approval prior to breaking ground on the new store.

Fred Meyer vacated the store in 2008 when it opened its new store off state Highway 14 at Grand and Columbia House boulevards, slightly more than one mile away.