Third market-style Walmart store planned for Rock Hill

adouglas@heraldonline.comNovember 26, 2013 

Walmart wants to build one of its Neighborhood Market stores and a gas station on S.C. 5 across from Northwestern High School – its third such store planned in recent weeks for Rock Hill.

The retail giant’s Neighborhood Market stores focus primarily on grocery sales but include some hardware and pet products and a pharmacy. At about 42,000 square feet, the markets are about one-quarter the size of a Walmart Supercenter.

Two other Neighborhood Market stores are in the works for Rock Hill – one on Celanese Road, near Ebinport Road, and one on Cherry Road, near Cherry Park. Planning documents for the Neighborhood Markets on Cherry and Celanese also call for an on-site gas station.

The third store is planned for the corner of S.C. 5 (West Main Street) at Rawlinson Road, according to city records.

Rock Hill already is home to two Walmart Supercenters, with a third planned at the corner of Albright and Mt. Holly roads. The company in September opened a Sam’s Club wholesale store on Dave Lyle Boulevard, across from one of its Supercenters.

The third planned Supercenter and three Neighborhood Markets in the works would nearly double Walmart’s current footprint in Rock Hill.

Walmart’s plans for Celanese Road have encountered some push-back from neighbors living in nearby Swan Meadows. The Rock Hill Planning Commission has yet to approve the company’s request for rezoning and annexation into the city, without which construction won’t begin.

Neighbors at a public hearing earlier this month said they are concerned the value of their homes would drop once the Neighborhood Market is built. They also worry about traffic, environmental and safety issues caused by commercial development nearby.

A Walmart representative said the company has been attentive to the residents’ concerns and that designers plan to ensure an appropriate buffer is built to protect neighbors and their property values.

The Planning Commission likely will vote on the Celanese Road store plans when it meets Jan. 7.

A Burger King restaurant now sits near where Walmart plans to build the Neighborhood Market on S.C. 5. Rawlinson Road Plaza, an existing shopping center that includes a Subway restaurant, would be redeveloped under Walmart’s plan, city officials said Tuesday.

The Burger King is expected to remain. New retail or restaurant buildings are proposed to join Walmart’s neighborhood market.

To build on S.C. 5, Walmart would need the City Council to approve rezoning some land currently classified as single-family residential. Part of the proposed development site is outside the city limits and would require City Council approval of an annexation request.

The Neighborhood Market would border the Rawlinson Acres residential area. The store also would be close to Rawlinson Road Baptist Church and across the street from Rawlinson Road Middle School and Northwestern High School.

Other neighboring properties already allow for commercial businesses.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mentioned that Rock Hill's Planning Commission would meet Dec. 3 to vote on Walmart's rezoning and annexation requests to build a neighborhood market store on Celanese Road, near Ebinport Road. City officials said Wednesday that the vote was recently moved to take place at the Planning Commission's Jan. 7 meeting at Rock Hill's City Hall. From there, the final decision rests with City Council.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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