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Wesel Boulevard's Wal-Mart is making way for a Martin's

July 21, 2004|by RYAN C. TUCK

ryant@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY - Joel Merrbaugh sat in his Caterpillar 977L track loader Tuesday morning and stared at his target. Finding a spot he liked, he shifted into gear and thrust the bucket into the back wall of the 2.5-acre former Wal-Mart building off Wesel Boulevard.

Merrbaugh was contracted by eciConstruction to begin demolition Tuesday on the former Wal-Mart building that has remained empty since the company left its location between Sam's Club and the Dollar Tree in June 2000.

EciConstruction will build a new Martin's Food Market on the property, said Dennis Hopkins, vice president of advertising and public relations for Giant Food Stores LLC, the parent company of Martin's.

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The company will close the Martin's in the adjacent shopping center to take over the former Wal-Mart location, Hopkins said.

Hopkins said the new Martin's will be almost 16,000 square feet bigger than the current store off Massey Avenue and also will be one of the chain's largest prototypes.

The new store will include a bank, a Chinese kitchen, a beauty and health-product section, and a gas station.

Hopkins said the company decided to move so it could expand the store, something that would have been too expensive at the current site.

Before any construction can begin, Merrbaugh, who owns Allegany Wrecking Contractors, has to destroy the old Wal-Mart, which he said will take a little more than two months.

Hopkins said he hoped construction would begin in September and that the store could open during the first half of 2005.

Chad Hammond, a representative working on-site Tuesday for eciConstruction, said the company also has plans to build two or three other businesses in the shopping center between the new Martin's and Dollar Tree.

Although the new Martin's will be larger than the current store, it will be smaller than the Wal-Mart, Hammond said.

Allegheny is responsible for salvaging, selling or disposing of all the metals and materials from the building, Merrbaugh said.

Merrbaugh said a lot of people may be interested in salvaging the building materials because the building was only 11 years old.

Wal-Mart and the Sam's Club that still operates in the shopping center opened for business in December 1991.

Wal-Mart closed its Wesel Boulevard location and reopened as a Wal-Mart Supercenter at the Centre at Hagerstown along U.S. 40 in June 2000.

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