Fort Mill Times

Walmart Market on track for late 2015 opening

The sights and sounds of construction won’t be stopping anytime soon in Fort Mill.

The town planning commission voted or heard updates on several projects Wednesday –both residential and commercial. Demolition at Fort Mill Square should begin in late February or early March. A Walmart Neighborhood Market is going where the former Food Lion shopping center is, and a new multi-tenant building will replace the building along Sanders Street, between USA Tire and South State Bank.

Initial plans showed the multi-tenant building, including popular restaurant Los Aztecas, at 8,000 square feet. It would have brick-faced buildings on either side and three storefronts in the middle. The latest plan takes out one of those middle spaces, reducing the building to 7,200 square feet.

“Our opinion is, everything else is staying the same,” said planning director Joe Cronin, explaining why the change doesn’t require a new plat approval. “Walmart wanted some additional visibility.”

The change won’t impact building materials already approved. It shouldn’t effect the time frame of having building pads ready by May, followed by five or six months of construction. There was some discussion by the commission of how important the change is, resulting in a vote to have Walmart come to its February meeting to discuss the latest plan.

“I want to make sure it’s conducive with our vision,” said commission member Chris Wolfe. “That’s a corridor we’ve spent a lot of time on.”

James Traynor, re-elected chairman at the Wednesday meeting, found the proposed change minor. The reduced building footprint would add visibility from Sanders Street and a little more parking on either side.

“It seems like it’s reasonably harmless,” Traynor said.

More homes coming

Other items Wednesday were residential. The commission approved final plat for Sutton Mill, an M/I Homes project near the Harris and Sutton roads intersection. Annexed a year ago, Sutton Mill will have 91 single-family homes and could add two more later. It includes sidewalks on both major roads and internally, Cronin said.

Final plat approval is contingent on a bond to cover 125 percent of the cost for unfinished infrastructure by the developer.

“All of the infrastructure has not yet been completed,” Cronin said.

Other plat approvals can come from town staff. The first 25 building permits already have been issued for Waterside on the Catawba. That project has 126 lots recorded and another 282 plats should be approved “sometime in the next couple of weeks,” Cronin said.

Waterside, in the area of South Dobys Bridge and Whites roads, is planned for 1,300 units.

The final phase of Riverchase is completing plat approval, too. The commission signed off on a road name allowing town staff approval for 72 homes there. The approval would leave only 26 of the 231 total homes needing final approval to begin construction. The latest Riverchase phase also requires a 125 percent bond.

An issue that would effect future development is an impact fee study that could decide how much builders are charged for new construction. Cronin said his department is awaiting instruction from Town Council on the issue, but could have something to show the planning commission in February.