Wal-Mart has filed an application to construct a Supercenter off Highway 99 in Galt. The retail giant from Bentonville, Ark. filed its application with the city late last week, Galt Senior Planner Sandra Kiriu said.
The Supercenter, complete with a grocery store, would measure 206,416 square-feet. A host of restaurants and other stores east of Highway 99 are also planned between the Central Galt and Simmerhorn Road exits.
Galt city officials said Wednesday that they had heard rumors of Wal-Mart's interest in Galt, but until last week they had only been rumors.
Wal-Mart spokesman Eric Berger said he knows little about the Galt application since it was just filed. Building a Supercenter takes 10 months, but Berger said he couldn't speculate on when construction would begin if the city approves Wal-Mart's application.
The nearest Wal-Marts to Galt are in Lodi at Kettleman Lane and Lower Sacramento Road, and in Elk Grove. A proposal to close a smaller Wal-Mart in Lodi and replace it with a Supercenter has met with both passionate opposition and support within the Lodi community.
Measure R on the Nov. 2 ballot in Lodi would require an election for any construction exceeding 125,000 square feet of building space. It is aimed at the proposed Supercenter, which will measure 226,868 square feet.
Wal-Mart representatives have told Galt officials that the fate of Lodi's Measure R will have no effect on the Galt project, according to Kiriu.
Although there are many Supercenters outside California, only one -- in the Southern California desert community of La Quinta -- is located within the state.
Wal-Mart's second Supercenter is scheduled to open in Stockton on Oct. 20. The Hammer Lane store will employ more than 900 workers, about 70 percent of them full-time.
Galt Vice Mayor Randy Shelton, who hasn't reviewed the application, said he is concerned about how a Wal-Mart in Galt would affect existing businesses.
"A super Wal-Mart does bother me," Shelton said. "There are multiple businesses that could be impacted greatly."
Wal-Mart's grocery department would compete with SaveMart, located across Highway 99 from the proposed Wal-Mart site, and Raley's, which opened in January 2003 on Twin Cities Road.
Raley's spokeswoman Jennifer Ortega said she is confident that Raley's will continue to succeed in Galt if Wal-Mart sets foot in the community.
"Superior customer service, high-quality product and value is what keep customers coming back to our stores," Ortega said.
SaveMart officials didn't return calls Wednesday.
Shelton said such businesses as Valley Pharmacy and Long's Drugs could also be harmed by a Wal-Mart.
"We will poll our business members on the potential impact on local business community," said Leanne McFadden, chairwoman-elect for the Galt District Chamber of Commerce.
"Wal-Mart has not contacted the chamber directly on this proposed project," McFadden said. "We hope they will be good partners with our community and work with the businesses that are well established in our area."
The Wal-Mart project will be considered along with a new Central Galt interchange as part of the city's General Plan update. The City Council is expected to adopt its new general plan in the latter part of 2005.
Wal-Mart submitted three schematic drawings based on each of the three Central Galt interchange alternatives that are proposed, according to Kiriu.
The council is lobbying state and federal officials for money to replace the current Central Galt interchange, which connects C Street and Boessow Road. Wal-Mart would have to contribute its fair share toward a new interchange, Kiriu said.
The city is exploring the idea of improving traffic flow north of the Wal-Mart by extending Simmerhorn Road north across the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to Carol Drive.
The City Council approved a $44,000 contract with transportation consultant Omni-Means on Tuesday to study the feasibility of extending Simmerhorn north to Carol Drive.
The 40-acre parcel is zoned for highway commercial, so it doesn't need to be rezoned, Kiriu said. However, an Environmental Impact Report, which will take about a year, will need to be prepared.
The Crystal Way extension is outside the city limits, which means that Wal-Mart would need to discuss the issue with Sacramento County, Kiriu said. The remainder of the site is within the Galt city limits.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.