GLOVERSVILLE - Construction of the new Walmart Supercenter on South Kingsboro Avenue is complete, and the employees are stocking the shelves for a grand opening Aug. 14, Store Manager Marvin Massey said this week.
The massive retail development is expected to have many benefits to the city, including sales tax revenue and the prospect of stimulating more commercial projects.
Massey said the new store will have a grocery section, a garden section, a pharmacy with a drive-through, a photo lab, recycling area and the typical retail products that all Walmart locations have. It will not have Tire and Lube Express service, although it will sell automotive products.
Rebecca Nelson, manager of the Health, Beauty Aids and Cosmetics Department, places items on shelves with direction from Store Manager Marvin Massey at the new Walmart Supercenter in Gloversville on Wednesday. The store opens Aug. 14. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
"There are going to be more options for people now," Massey said. "One-stop shopping is a big deal for us because now people won't have to go to multiple locations for their everyday items."
Massey said there is space within the Walmart that will be dedicated to other uses as well including a Subway, a bank and a hair and nail salon.
He said the employees have put in all the shelves and are training and stocking the shelves to get everything ready for the opening.
"I'm just glad that it is actually here," Massey said. "After all the talk and all the planning from both Gloversville and Johnstown, it is finally done so that we can save people money so they can live better."
He said the new store is energy efficient, with sky windows and concrete flooring. In the cooler sections, lights will come on as customers walk down the aisle and turn off during idle times.
Massey said customers will notice the benefit of two separate entrances. Once they know the layout, if they are looking for a particular item, they can decide which entrance will be more convenient.
City Building Inspector Rob Robbins said the Walmart project originally was estimated to cost $6.7 million, but the cost likely has gone up.
Bast-Hatfield Construction of Clifton Park was lead contractor on the 157,100-square-foot store.
The Walmart store on Fifth Avenue Extension will close the day before the opening of the supercenter, Aug. 13, Massey said.
Walmart is selling the current store building. Hannaford supermarket owns its own building attached to the current Walmart store.
The new store created 85 new jobs, adding to the 170 employees at the existing store on Fifth Avenue Extension. All of the new positions have been filled, Massey said.
Walmart has more than 2,900 supercenters in the United States, including sites in Amsterdam, Herkimer and Cobleskill.
Massey, who has been the manager of the Gloversville store for 10 years, said he is pleased the grand opening is finally approaching and the new store is a reality after nearly a decade of discussion.
"I'm glad it is finally happening," he said. "People have been asking me for nine years when it was going to happen, and I am happy now they're going to have a one-stop shopping experience."
Outside the supercenter, a crosswalk will help pedestrians stay safe at the intersection of South Kingsboro Avenue and Route 30A.
Massey said the new store will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
He said he is looking forward to helping other businesses in the area thrive with help from the increased traffic flow around the new store.
While no additional businesses officially have been approved to move near the supercenter, city and Fulton County officials expect more development in the area.
The city and town of Johnstown agreed any new commercial developments along Hales Mills Road will have access to city sewer and water service.
Tow Supervisor Nancy MacVean and Gloversville Mayor Dayton King co-signed a letter to the roughly 20 town residents who own property there saying they do have access to water and sewer services.
King said although this agreement does not bring a financial benefit to the city, he does see the need to work together and to have more businesses in the area to spur even more growth.
King said development of the 300 acres along Hales Mills Road may provide jobs for people who now are unemployed or underemployed.
The city's proposal to create an access road to promote business development on the other side of Route 30A is making progress as well.
The Common Council on Tuesday approved a land swap on South Kingsboro Avenue with the Foothills United Methodist Church. The exchange will free land-locked property owned by the church and provide the city with land for the proposed access road along Route 30A.
City Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said the church is interested in eliminating the land- lock to free up the property for a developer. The church did not name the developer.
Jones said the developer is expected to come before the city Planning Board in August with plans.
The access road would run parallel to Route 30A along its west side for about a mile between South Kingsboro and Steele avenues. The road would have direct access to South Kingsboro at one end and Steele Avenue at the other. It could connect with Route 30A at the halfway point. The proposed roadway would stretch 1.15 miles across nine parcels of privately owned land.
According to a state Route 30A Break-in Access Traffic Study presented to the Common Council, potential development in that location could include retail, churches, fast food, hotel, offices, a supermarket or a gas station.
Jones previously said some of the potential businesses cited in the study were identified based on the traffic they might bring, not any specific plans to build them.
King has said there might be a fast-food business at the South Kingsboro and Route 30A intersection, but he didn't name a specific company.
He said a lot of developers and commercial businesses have been contacting the city over the past several years about the possibility of moving near the new Walmart.
An associate real estate broker with Corporate Commercial Real Estate Services, John McCaffer, has said he is marketing the 20 acres between Dr. Thomas Eagan's office and the Cataract Care Center near the intersection of South Kingsboro and Route 30A.
City officials have said the new supercenter will generate additional revenue that could ease the tax burden on city residents.
City property owners pay the highest tax rate in any city in the state outside New York City, according to a report by the Empire Center for New York State Policy.
Residents of the city and Gloversville Enlarged School District pay a combined city, school and Fulton County tax rate of $52.40 per $1,000 of assessed value, the study showed. That's 43 cents per $1,000 more than Binghamton property owners pay.
The Walmart is projected to bring the city an additional $250,000 in sales tax revenue this year, Gloversville Finance Commissioner Bruce Van Genderen has said.
King and Van Genderen said they expect an additional $600,000 to $800,000 in revenue in a full fiscal year from Walmart once it is fully operational.
Van Genderen said the sales tax is the standard 8 percent; half will go to the state, and half will be split between the county and city. Walmart will pay property taxes to the city, the county and the school district.
Tying loose ends
The city Tuesday agreed to maintain a road leading into the store property.
The city also gave Walmart permanent access to a piece of city property so the store can maintain an electric sign in front of the supercenter.
Another agreement gives the city access to property owned by the neighboring Fulton County Federal Credit Union to maintain or improve sewer infrastructure.
The city council Tuesday approved a request from city Transit Director William Walrath to hold a public hearing Aug. 13 on a bus-route change related to Walmart.
When the new store opens Aug. 14, the city transit system will divert its main route to provide service to the new supercenter.
The change will add about eight minutes to the total bus run. In order to keep the city bus loop limited to one hour, cuts to other parts of the route are necessary.
The public hearing will give people the opportunity to express any concerns or confusion they might have with the anticipated route change.
"I think [the supercenter] is good, and I think you are going to see Hales Mills Road and also Route 30A really explode over the next five to 10 years," Mayor Dayton King said about the Walmart project.
Levi Pascher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.