HAMMOND | The Hammond Redevelopment Commission approved a plan Tuesday that could lead to Walmart building a store near Cabela's at Indianapolis Boulevard and Interstate 80/94.
Commissioners lifted a stipulation in Cabela's original project agreement that restricted certain businesses already in the city from locating to the site. In exchange, Cabela's will pay Hammond $2.25 million by July 2013 at the latest.
City officials were approached by Cabela's about a year ago on a possible deal to move the Walmart at 1828 165th St. to the site, Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said.
McDermott said the city intends to use the $2.25 million payment to retire debt and help fill the empty store front on 165th Street if Walmart chooses to move.
“I want to see development at this point — that's what we are looking for,” said McDermott, noting the strong traffic draw of the relatively new Walmart supercenter store in north Hammond.
“Complimented with Cabela's, between the two of them, they will draw a tremendous amount of traffic. The sky's the limit for that development.”
Phil Taillon, the city's top development officer, emphasized the commission's action does not guarantee a Walmart will be built at the site.
Regardless, lifting the stipulation will make the Cabela's site more attractive for development, Taillon said. In all, there are 50 acres available for development.
“Walmart has approached us, and it is very possible that they will be coming before the Redevelopment Commission in the near future, but there's no guarantee on that,” Taillon said.
The commission also lifted requirements dealing with employment of Hammond residents at Cabela's at its Tuesday meeting.
The project agreement had required the retailer hire a certain number of Hammond residents, turn in annual reports documenting the number of Hammond residents employed at the store and pay a penalty if the employment level was unmet.
“Obviously at this point they've already hired all their employees,” Taillon said. “We're not as concerned Hammond residents won't have a fair shot. We know for a fact they have a number of Hammond residents who work for them.”