LANSING | Village officials said Tuesday they hope to give final approval by next month to an expanded Walmart to move into the Torrence Avenue site that once was a Sam’s Club warehouse.
The site of the former Sam’s Club, at 17555 Torrence Ave., has sat vacant since the retailer moved to the River Oaks West shopping center in Calumet City in 2009.
But Village Trustee Mikal Stole said Walmart officials have talked with Lansing officials for nearly two years about the move, which would entail closing the existing Walmart in the Landings shopping center at 16771 Torrence Ave.
Stole said Walmart officials would demolish the former Sam’s Club and build a new 150,000-square-foot structure on the Torrence Avenue site just south of the Interstate 80/94 interchange.
Stole used his report as head of the Village Board’s economic development committee to announce the change. Although the move had been rumored, Tuesday was the first time village officials confirmed the speculation.
Stole said Walmart officials last week submitted a plan for the development that now will be reviewed by the village’s Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals.
Village Administrator J. Wynsma said officials are hoping the zoning board reviews the proposal when it meets again April 10 at the Municipal Court complex, 2710 170th St.
If the zoning board gives its recommendation, Wynsma said it would be possible for the full Village Board to consider the issue and give final approval to when it meets April 16.
Village President Norm Abbott said previously he hoped the issue could have been approved prior to the April 9 municipal elections. On Tuesday, he said significant development takes time to approve.
“When people talk about how we didn’t do any economic development, they’re not taking into account how long it takes to do these deals,” Abbott said.
Stole said an expanded Walmart could create up to 175 jobs for local residents.
Wynsma said the existing Walmart in the Landings likely would be broken up into smaller storefronts that would be easier for the center’s developer to lease out.
"Let's get this deal done first, then we’ll focus on what to do with the (old Walmart) site,” Wynsma said.