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City: Supercenter apparently on drawing board
An artist rendering of the Walmart Supercenter inside of the proposed Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The Walmart Supercenter is coming.

It's just taking longer than expected, said City of Ceres Planning Development Director Tom Westbrook, who fields inquiries from the public almost weekly.

"They're moving towards construction," said Westbrook. "It's just that it's on whatever timeline they have."
The mega retailer has been planning to build a Walmart Supercenter within the proposed Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center for nearly 10 years now. Opposition has delayed the project.

Westbrook has no idea when the company will be submitting development plans but suspects it will be soon.

"I know every time I'm out in the community that's what people ask me, ‘when is the Walmart coming?'" said Westbrook. "I know that they're continuing to work on their on-site and off-site improvement plans. There's just a lot to those with the amount of improvements that are going to be placed along Service Road, Mitchell Road, etcetera."

Westbrook routinely gets questions from Walmart's engineers "so I know they're continuing to move forward - just don't know when we're going to get it."

The city remains hopeful it will have construction documents to review by September or October.

"We're hoping they get done as quickly as possible but just doesn't seem that they've been as anxious as we've been anxious for them to get started," said Westbrook.

The developer is responsible for putting in the improvements around the project for the full widening of Mitchell and Service roads.

"I think that's what's taking a little bit of time - making sure they have those alignments correct so that when the interchange goes in they don't have to rip out any portion of roadway that's already been placed to try to make it work."

The Ceres City Council approved the project in 2011 but it immediately went to court after a group calling themselves Citizens for Ceres continued fighting the project. In December 2016 Walmart was cleared to proceed with construction of the 26-acre shopping center for the northwest corner of Service and Mitchell roads. The group, led by Sheri Jacobson, lost its second and final court fight to block construction of the center and its anchor tenant, Walmart Supercenter. When the state Supreme Court failed to hear the appeal of a lower court decision, the protesting group exhausted their legal options.

The Walmart Supercenter building itself is large - 185,668 square feet - but the shopping center also includes:

• Major retailer #2 - 28,000 square feet;

• Major retailer #3 - 13,500 square feet;

• Major retailer #4 - 14,000 square feet;

• Shop #1 - 12,200 square feet;

• Shop #2 - 11,700 square feet;

• Shop #3 - 7,000 square feet;

• Shop #4 - 8,500 square feet;

• Retail pad A - 3,250 square feet;

• Restaurant pad A - 3,250 square feet;

• Restaurant pad B - 3,000 square feet;

• Restaurant pad C - 4,000 square feet.

Grand total = 299,830 square feet.