Walmart Neighborhood Market coming to Helena

Published 10:29 am Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Walmart Neighborhood Market will be coming to Helena's former Winn Dixie building off Shelby County 17. (Contributed)

A Walmart Neighborhood Market will be coming to Helena’s former Winn Dixie building off Shelby County 17. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Helena’s long-vacant former Winn-Dixie store off Shelby County 17 likely will be getting a new tenant by the end of the year, according to the Birmingham-based Retail Specialists firm.

A Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store will work to renovate the building over the next several months after the Walmart company bought out the building’s lease from Winn Dixie.

“(Walmart) will be working to open there by the end of the year. If not by the end of the year, very shortly thereafter,” said Retail Specialists Director of Project Leasing Bill Clements, who worked with the property’s owner to broker the deal with Walmart.

Walmart Neighborhood Markets are smaller than the retail chain’s traditional department stores, and offer more grocery-centered items.

The building, which anchors the Helena Market Place shopping center, has been vacant since Winn Dixie shut its doors in the summer of 2010.

Helena City Councilman Hal Woodman said the city has been working with the developer to attract a new tenant to the building for years – stretching back to Helena’s previous administration. The city is not planning to offer tax breaks to Walmart, Woodman said.

“That center has not had an anchor store for years,” Woodman said. “When you lose a big anchor store like that, it affects all the stores around it.”

Helena Mayor Mark Hall said he and the city’s current leaders have been working for the past several months to facilitate the negotiations between the property owner and Walmart.

“It’s a great fit for our city and that location. We will welcome them with open arms,” Hall said. “We are very pleased with the progress. It will be a big shot in the arm for us to get that large empty store filled again.”