"Upscale" Henrico Walmart clears important hurdle - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

"Upscale" Henrico Walmart clears important hurdle

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

Developers promise that a new Walmart in Henrico's west end will be more upscale than all the rest. Now, they have the plans to prove it.

The store is proposed for the Reynolds Crossing office park near the intersection of Forest Avenue and Glenside Drive. The project again appears to be moving forward following a summer of delays.

It won't look like the usual Walmart. Instead, the new version of the discount mega store will have more earth tones and stonework. Designers call it "upscale".

Phil Wise works in the area where it's supposed to be built.

"Well, I think the design is more modern. It doesn't look like the normal Walmart from what I've heard," Wise said.

Henrico County planners wanted it that way. In July, planning staff called for several improvements to the plans, including more windows, and maybe a wrought iron fence so the store's appearance resembled that of the Shoppes at Westgate in Short Pump.

County Planning Director Joe Emerson said that's now been done.

"We're comfortable with the plan that it meets the parameters of the zoning code," Emerson said.

Two months later, however, some neighbors in the nearby Charles Glen subdivision are not entirely satisfied. For months they've raised concerns about traffic and noise. Even the nearby Altria Group took their side.

Tuesday, though, Altria spokesperson Ken Garcia issued an updated statement.

"Over the past few months we have discussed several issues related to the development with those affected, including the developer, neighboring businesses, the proposed retailer and the county.  Everyone has been responsive to concerns raised by us and others, resulting in a number of modifications to the original plans.  We are pleased with the progress that was made to address the outstanding issues," Garcia wrote.

Regarding the delays, "It's very typical of any plan of development process," Emerson said.

The proposal gets a public hearing Wednesday morning at the county Planning Commission.

Back at the site, others who work in the area welcomed the revised plans which call for employing about 250 people, and a grand opening in 2013.

"If you work here, and you need to run an errand at lunch, it'll be great to have," said John Durgin, who works nearby.

Wednesday's public hearing will be followed by a vote, the last likely hurdle before construction begins.

If you want to go, the public hearing takes place at the county administration building on Parham Road. It begins at 9:00 a.m.

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