ATLANTA-Hesitant in the past to open stores in urban areas, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to provide Midtown shoppers with a 150,000-sf, $11-million store this year at the former Castlegate Hotel site off Interstate 75 and Howell Mill Road, area retail brokers familiar with the deal tell Wal-Mart is expected to sign an estimated 10-year lease shortly.

However, brokers were uncertain if Wal-Mart would offer groceries at the Midtown site, as it does at its larger 220,000-sf Superstores. For Wal-Mart, opening at the Selig Enterprises property would be “a no-brainer,” area brokers tell, since Selig’s 17-acre project will have 280 rental apartment units–a ready-made customer base.

Retail brokers familiar with the submarkets also tell the Bentonville, AR-based retailer may also open a 100,000-sf store in the vacant Avondale Mall in neighboring DeKalb County. Costco, Home Depot and Sam’s Club had previously considered leasing space at the Selig project, area brokers tell Sam’s Club is a Wal-Mart division.

Wal-Mart previously considered opening a store at the $2-billion, 138-acre Atlantic Station redevelopment nearing completion in Midtown but the deal with developer James F. Jacoby and his associates never got done, brokers intimate with the deal tell

In an unrelated retail move, Jacksonville, FL-based Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. is closing two more of its SaveRite stores. The 40,000-sf properties are on Monroe Drive in Midtown and on Alpharetta Highway in suburban Roswell, GA. Another SaveRite on Peachtree Parkway in Norcross, GA closed in June.

According to the trade publication, the Shelby Report of the Southeast, Winn-Dixie is ranked fifth in sales behind Ingles, Wal-Mart, Publix and Kroger. In 1993, Winn-Dixie was the No. 2 grocer in metro Atlanta. Kroger was No. 1.

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