Home Depot wants to open store 'ASAP'

Retail chain must get approval from city for its offer to buy land

Posted: Friday, December 17, 2004

The Home Depot hopes to open a store in Juneau "as soon as possible," a corporate spokeswoman said Thursday.

Kathryn Gallagher, speaking from Orange, Calif., said the national retail home-improvement chain must first get approval from the city for its offer to buy 10 acres of city property near Costco in the Lemon Creek area.

The city received an inquiry about the property, currently part of a sand and gravel pit, earlier this week, City Manager Rod Swope said. The offer will be discussed by the Assembly Lands Committee on Monday.

"It's a great opportunity," Gallagher said. "We hope it goes through."

Generally, it takes eight months from the time local government approves plans and issues permits to the point a store opens for business, she said.

Plans call for Juneau to have one of The Home Depot's average-size stores - 102,000 square feet of indoor floor space in addition to a year-round 35,000 square-foot garden center, Gallagher said.

Juneau's Fred Meyer store, selling groceries and general merchandise, has about 121,000 square feet of floor space.

Gallagher said The Home Depot employs 125 people at an average-size store and about 90 percent of the hiring is local.

"It's a great opportunity to provide new jobs in the area," she said.

A spokesman for Wal-Mart told the Empire on Wednesday that the Arkansas-based international retailer is in the "fact-finding stage" in looking at Juneau as a possible location for one of its stores. Wal-Mart is looking at the Lemon Creek-area building occupied by Kmart before it closed in April 2003.

The Home Depot previously looked at the Kmart building as the site of a possible store. Recently, the chain was looking at property near the city's landfill, off Glacier Highway.

The Home Depot has four stores in Alaska - Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai and Wasilla. The Atlanta-based company, founded in 1978, has 1,613 stores in the United States, 111 stores in Canada and 43 stores in Mexico. Additionally, it has 54 design centers, five stores catering to professional contractors and 11 landscape supply stores.

Juneau, Gallagher said, "is a market we don't serve right now, and it's a growing community."



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