Edgewater merchants excited about new Biloxi Walmart - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Edgewater merchants excited about new Biloxi Walmart

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -  A confirmation by Walmart on Friday ended months of rumor and speculation. The retail giant will close its Pass Road store in Biloxi and build a new Walmart Supercenter behind Edgewater Village.

The location for the new 150,000 square foot store is the old United Artists theater property off Switzer Drive. The 20 acre site has sat vacant since the storm damaged theater was torn down several years ago. Walmart promises to build a thriving retail center there.

"This will be a great location," said Jerry Creel, Community Development Director for the City of Biloxi. "It will certainly help our economy here in Biloxi.  But we're also excited about the development this will cause. That area has been economically dead since Katrina. And we're already getting calls from other developments wanting to locate somewhere nearby."

The city has been working with Walmart for close to a year on its plan to close the Pass Road store and build the much larger supercenter at the West Biloxi location.

Walmart's plan includes more than just the supercenter.

"Our understanding is that they are not only going to build a store, but they're going to have an out parcel with some retail strip centers and possibly a restaurant or two," said Creel.

Creel said road improvements to handle the traffic will accompany the Walmart project. A connector road is likely to be built from the new Walmart, through the north side of Edgewater Village to Edgewater Mall.

Merchants in Edgewater Village are certainly excited about Walmart's announcement. The large volume of shoppers attracted to the Walmart supercenter also represents potential customers for those retailers.

"It's going to be fabulous for us," said Bath Junkie Owner Brooke Odom. "We've always thought this was a great location. And we're just thrilled that other people are going to see that now and just be coming back to this area.  And they're going to be driving right through our parking lot to get to Walmart, so it'll be great."

The manager of Mugshots restaurant is equally optimistic.

"Things have been going great. And I think a new Walmart in the area, a super Walmart will be great for the coast as far as bringing businesses back and it will be great for the economy and great for Mugshots," said Manager Glenn Faust.

Walmart expects the new store will open in the first quarter of 2012.

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