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WHITE PLAINS-The City of White Plains has begun the review of plans submitted by Wal-Mart late last week to open a 160,000-sf store at the site of a former Sears department store on Main Street. A spokesperson for Wal-Mart says the retailer filed plans with the City of White Plains on Oct. 29.

The general merchandise store will be located on the lower level and first level at the Shoppes at Main, a new retail project being developed by Ivy Equities of Montvale, NJ and Barrow Street Capital LLC of New York City. Ivy and Barrow acquired the leasehold interest of the former 270,000-sf Sears store for approximately $13 million in 2003. The building became available after Sears moved its store down Main Street to the Galleria Mall. Ivy and Barrow Street have since converted the building into a multi-tenant property.

Wal-Mart’s Mia Masten reveals that Wal-Mart has signed a lease for 160,000 sf of space with Ivy Equities. Officials with Ivy Equities refused comment on the Wal-Mart lease transaction. She adds that Wal-Mart hopes to open its new store here by the fall of 2005. The store will have approximately 400 employees, 300 of which will be full time.

The Wal-Mart store will not be designed as one of the retailer’s large Supercenter locations, but will be a general merchandise store. She adds that the store will contain an expanded food section that will offer some grocery and deli products.

Paul Wood, acting executive officer for the City of White Plains, says Wal-Mart’s plans are now being reviewed by the city’s Building Department. Since the store will be built out at an existing location that is already zoned retail, Wal-Mart will only be required to obtain a building permit prior to opening, he says.

The deal, which has been rumored for months, has not been without some critics. Some city officials had expressed reservations about having Wal-Mart locate a store directly across the street from two luxury residential tower buildings currently under construction–Trump Tower at City Center and One City Place.

Wood says the city asked Wal-Mart if it could include grocery items at the store since that section of Downtown has been without a major supermarket for years. Based on those discussions with the city, Wal-Mart agreed to include an expanded food section, which Wood notes will total approximately 40,000 sf.

Wal-Mart’s only other location in Westchester County is at the Cortlandt Town Center in Mohegan Lake. Other Wal-Mart stores in the region include a store in Airmont (Rockland County), Monroe, Newburgh and Middletown in Orange County and two in the Norwalk area in Connecticut.

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