Wal-Mart strategically buying up land in Bentonville

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 14,489 views 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been busy the past year scooping up strategically placed real estate in a concentrated area of Bentonville.

A search of Benton County real estate records found more than two dozen land acquisitions completed by Wal-Mart or related entities between June 2016 and July 7, 2017. The properties, totaling 31.09 acres, are along East Central Avenue, Southeast Moberly Lane, and Southeast Eighth and J streets. They range from single-family homes and commercial buildings to vacant lots.

The streets form a boundary surrounding multiple buildings and real estate parcels already owned by Wal-Mart. Most of them were once Wal-Mart warehouses that have since been converted for a variety of uses (associate store, layout center, employment center, office space, etc.) There’s also a large amount of property used for trailer parking and truck maintenance.

Central Avenue is a primary east-west corridor in the city. Eighth Street one day will be. The Eighth Street Improvement Project will widen the road from two to four lanes from Moberly Lane westward to Southwest I Street, a stretch of about 2 miles. Eighth Street will also extend from Moberly eastward, past the Walmart Data Center, and connect to a new interchange with Interstate 49. Dennis Birge, a transportation engineer with the city, said utilities are being relocated, and the widening project could begin next spring.

The Wal-Mart purchases of the past 12 months add up to nearly $37 million, according to county records. That’s a drop in the financial bucket, of course, for the retail giant, and the company’s practice of buying property of interest on the QT isn’t news in and of itself. The city is dotted with inconspicuous parcels owned by Wal-Mart.

But it’s the focused geographic effort – and in a relatively organized time frame – that does draw attention. Might this one day be the site of, say, a more modern Walmart Home Office campus? It’s an interesting parlor game to play. What will certain areas of Bentonville look like 10, 15 … even 20 years from now?

Officially, Wal-Mart says its interest in the land is purely speculative, and there are no current development plans.

“We bought some property, and that’s not uncommon for us to do,” said Anne Hatfield, Wal-Mart’s director of communications. “The area, in general, is growing, and that growth is sure to continue, so it just makes good fiscal sense to buy that property now. We may need it down the road. We do have several buildings in that area, and this gives us options if we decide we need [additional land] one day.”

Here is a look at properties acquired by Wal-Mart in the past year. The numbers correspond to the lots shaded in yellow on the image in this story. The areas shaded in blue are existing Wal-Mart properties.

No. 1:  111 S.E. J St.
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Sargent Family Trust; Acres: 0.53; Price: $700,000; Date: Aug. 16, 2016; Description: 1,488-square-foot office/service repair building, known as Service Solutions building; appraised for $335,700 this year.

No. 2:  109 S.E. J St.
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Diamond Trust Ltd.; Acres: 0.43; Price: $400,000; Date: Aug. 19, 2016; Description: 960-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $64,800 this year.

No. 3: 101 S.E. J St.
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Atlantis Jewels Ltd.; Acres: 0.66; Price: $2.27 million; Date: July 29, 2016; Description: 5,360-square-foot office building built in 2003; in 2016 appraised for $473,300.

No. 4: 1104-1106 E. Central Ave.
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: MSB Holdings LLC; Acres: 1.01; Price: $950,000; Date: July 22 and 29, 2016; Description: 2,184-square-foot office building that previously housed a preschool; the two parcels appraised for a combined $421,350 this year.

No. 5: 2 Katie Court
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Misty M. Wilson; Acres: 0.16; Price: $105,000; Date: July 29, 2016; Description: 1,014-square-foot single-family home built in 1992; appraised for $93,500 this year.

No. 6: 1208 E. Central Ave.
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Ira and Rebecca Cowan; Acres: 0.33; Price: $475,000; Date: Nov. 10, 2016; Description: 1,597-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $110,150 this year.

No. 7: 102 Jay Court
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Jason and Sandra Underwood; Acres: 0.22; Price: $210,000; Date: Sept. 29, 2016; Description: 1,001-square-foot single-family home built in 1990; appraised for $94,750 this year.

No. 8: 1306 E. Central Ave.
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Brad and Anita Karren; Acres: 0.34; Price: $237,000; Date: Sept. 7, 2016; Description: 1,290-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $132,700 this year.

No. 9 and No. 10: 1312 E. Central Ave.
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Jeff Martin and Wayne Martin; Acres: 3.21; Price: $1.08 million; Date: July 2, 2016; Description: 2,235-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $240,650 this year.

No. 11: 2000 E. Central Ave.
Buyer: CKP Investors LLC; Seller: Bill Rubley; Acres: 0.91; Price: $2.5 million; Date: July 7, 2017; Description: 7,200-square-foot commercial building built in 1997; appraised for $622,450 this year.

No. 12: 2004 E. Central Ave.
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: A Child’s World Preschool Inc.; Acres: 1.04; Price: $1.5 million; Date: Aug. 3, 2016; Description: 2,061-square-foot former day care center; appraised for $446,200 this year.

No. 13, No. 14, No. 15: East Central Avenue
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Robert Reis, Sun Lee; Acres: 2.61; Price: $1.70 million; Date: July 13, 2016; Description: The properties contain multiple vacant structures.

No. 16 and No. 17: 2406 E. Central Ave.; Southeast Moberly Lane
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Roth Family Partnership LLLP; Acres: 1.61; Price: $990,000; Date: June 24, 2016; Description: The East Central property contains an empty 2,592-square-foot building that previously housed Congregation Etz Chaim; the two lots appraised for $598,800 this year.

No. 18: 304 S.E. Moberly Lane
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Emerson Jaco and Ana Ortiz; Acres: 0.76; Price: $510,000; Date: Oct. 7, 2016; Description: Vacant 1,000-square-foot commercial property; appraised for $267,500 this year.

No. 19: 306 S.E. Moberly Lane
Buyer: Moberly Investments LLC; Seller: Olga Berg; Acres: 0.35; Price: $255,000; Date: April 19, 2017; Description: 1,631-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $129,000 this year.

No. 20: 308 S.E. Moberly Lane
Buyer: Moberly Investments LLC; Seller: Roy and Brenda Yates; Acres: 0.35; Price: $305,000; Date: June 22, 2017; Description: 1,730-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $120,350 this year.

No. 21: 310 S.E. Moberly Lane
Buyer: Moberly Investments LLC; Seller: Vicki Williams; Acres: 0.33; Price: $325,000; Date: June 12, 2017; Description: 1,240-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $102,100 this year.

No. 22: 312 S.E. Moberly Lane
Buyer: Moberly Investments LLC; Seller: Timothy and Elizabeth Kenyon; Acres: 0.34; Price: $305,000; Date: June 12, 2017; Description: 1,568-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $126,500 this year.

No. 23: 402 S.E. Moberly Lane
Buyer: Moberly Investments LLC; Seller: The Estate of Cheryl D. Trinh; Acres: 0.33; Price: $306,000; Date: June 19, 2017; Description: 956-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $83,000 this year.

No. 24: 404 S.E. Moberly Lane
Buyer: Moberly Investments LLC; Seller: Donald and Ann Turner; Acres: 0.35; Price: $275,000; Date: May 24, 2017; Description: 1,080-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $99,050 this year.

No. 25: 406 S.E. Moberly Lane
Buyer: Moberly Investments LLC; Seller: Ray and Judy Cothern; Acres: 0.35; Price: $290,000; Date: May 10, 2017; Description: 2,061-square-foot single-family home; appraised for $135,350 this year.

No. 26: 1609 S.E. Eighth St.
Buyer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Seller: Fleeman Family LP II; Acres: 3.15; Price: $2.05 million; Date: July 14, 2016; Description: The property contains multiple small structures and was formerly the site of Terre Vista Landscapes; appraised for $396,350 this year.

No. 27: 1301 S.E. Eighth St.
Buyer: Benchmark Realty Advisors Inc.; Seller: South Allies LLC; Acres: 4.97; Price: $9.5 million; Date: Nov. 1, 2016; Description: Includes a 50,802-square-foot office/warehouse building and a 14,658-square-foot office/warehouse building; appraised for $6.69 million this year. Partially occupied.

No. 28: 1205 S.E. Eighth St.
Buyer: Benchmark Realty Advisors Inc.; Seller: West Allies LLC; Acres: 6.75; Price: $9.5 million; Date: Nov. 1, 2016; Description: Contains six office buildings totaling 56,097 square feet; appraised for $5.68 million in 2016. Partially occupied.

Totals
Land: 31.09 acres
Price: $36.69 million

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