Havre Daily News
A deal that will bring Wal-Mart to Havre could close as early as Friday, according to the property owner who is selling the land to the world's largest retailer.
Also today, the Hill County Commission unanimously approved the final plan subdividing 170 acres owned by Ron Harmon into four lots. Wal-Mart is looking at one of the lots, roughly 12 acres west of Kmart, for construction of a supercenter.
On Tuesday, the company will review documents related to the sale, Harmon said, and if everything is in order, the sale could be completed Friday.
“It's certainly going to be in the next few days,” Harmon said.
Wal-Mart officials did not attend today's County Commission meeting and could not be reached for comment.
Harmon said the 105,000-square-foot supercenter could open by the end of 2006 or early in 2007. If the deal is completed, the company will select a contractor, who will set the timeline for the store's construction, he added.
Company officials have said the store would likely include a grocery department, garden center and tire center, and could include a gas station. The store would employ about 275 people, 60 percent of whom would work full time.
The commission approved the final subdivision after Harmon added two easements to the plan.
A 60-foot road easement will allow for the extension of an access road coming east from U.S. Highway 87 on the south side of the property. Harmon said the road will be constructed in conjuction with the store, and will connect with Second Street West.
A 10-foot drainage easement will allow water to continue to drain from land south of the property down to U.S. Highway 2, county planner Clay Vincent said.
Hill County Commissioner Doug Kaercher said after the meeting that community reaction has been “rather positive” since a possible deal between Harmon and Wal-Mart was made public in the spring.
“(Residents) just believe it's part of the growth pattern of Havre,” Kaercher said.
In other communities across the country, community members and local business owners have opposed - sometimes successfully - the construction of Wal-Mart stores.
There has not been such an effort in Havre. Some local business owners have expressed concern about the possible store construction, while remaining optimistic that the retail giant's move to Havre will bring more shopping traffic with it rather than close competitors down.
Some Havreites have said they are happy with the possibility of having a Wal-Mart nearby, eliminating the need to drive to Great Falls to find one of the chain's stores. Tribal officials at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation have expressed interest in the store because it would bring much-needed jobs to the area.
Harmon said he has received some inquiries about other parcels adjacent to the property being considered by Wal-Mart. The other development possibilities include service-related businesses and retail operations, he said.