The transformation of an empty Food Lion in Evans into a Walmart Neighborhood Market is expected to begin soon.
Columbia County officials have nearly finished reviewing construction plans for the planned renovation in the Village at Furys Ferry, at Furys Ferry and Evans-to-Locks roads, said Columbia County Development Services Director Richard Harmon.
“It’s ready for them to walk in the door pretty much and
get a building permit,” Harmon said.
The store, a grocery-only business that’s far smaller than a typical Walmart Supercenter, will be the fifth in Georgia and the first in the Augusta area, according to Walmart spokesman Bill Wertz.
Walmart introduced the Neighborhood Markets in 1998 and has since built 200 of the stores, many of them in spaces where other businesses had closed.
The Martinez Food Lion was one of three
in Columbia County
that closed in February 2012.
“I wouldn’t say it’s to compete with a Fresh Market, but it’s going to be along those lines,” Harmon said.
Matt Mills, of Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial Real Estate, said the renovations should be completed in time for a December opening.
Even though the building itself is fairly new, the renovations will be extensive in part because of the new store’s planned layout, Harmon said.
Typically, grocery stores have plumbing around the sides and back, but the Walmart plans also call for plumbing down the middle, so concrete will have to be torn out to install water lines, he said.
The Village at Furys Ferry was the subject of considerable neighborhood opposition in its planning stages. A Kroger store
originally planned for the center pulled out when county officials refused
to allow a slightly larger store than the zoning specified.
Food Lion then opened instead. It closed after three years when corporate officials shut down several stores in the chain.
A Big Lots store is planned for the closed Food Lions in Evans Exchange on North Belair Road.
No new tenant has been announced for the closed Food Lion on Old Petersburg Road at Old Evans Road, where the expected extension of River Watch Parkway is likely to take part of the parking lot.