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Supercenter ready in a year?
• Building of long-awaited Walmart Supercenter to start up
Supercenter ceres project
City officials remain hopeful that this artist rendering of the proposed Walmart Supercenter for Service and Mitchell roads becomes a reality – along with i the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center.

Construction of the 185,682-square-foot Walmart Supercenter is expected to take over a year’s time, according to the city of Ceres.

Last week Walmart announced to the city that a contractor has been hired and is preparing to begin building. A construction trailer and fencing went up last week.

“My expectation is that we’re going to see some earth work very, very soon,” said Ceres City Manager Tom Westbrook who has been guiding the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center project through the process for the last 13 years.

The company is not expected to hold a groundbreaking ceremony, preferring instead to celebrate when the doors open in 2021.

While an entire shopping center has been approved, it appears only that only the Supercenter is ready for initial construction.

“The only building permits that have been issued are for the actual Walmart building,” said Westbrook.

Besides the Walmart Supercenter, plans call for 10 other retail shops totaling 114,162 square feet, including three other major tenants and four smaller shops as well as a stand-alone retail building and two to three new restaurants.

Once the new store opens in 2021, Walmart and the city expect to have conversations about what use can fill the store at Hatch and Mitchell roads which will be abandoned.

“I believe they have some marketing folks that they’ve worked with in past jurisdictions to kind of help dispose of those properties either through a long-term lease or sale but they won’t start that process until they’re actually conducting operations at the new location,” said Westbrook.

Owners of adjacent empty parcels have been anxiously awaiting the development of Mitchell Ranch since it will serve as a magnet for development of their properties. Earlier this year the city approved the 13.65-acre site Ceres Gateway Center commercial project to the south of the Supercenter. Business interested in coming to that development include In-N-Out Burger, Chipotle, Panda Express and Circle K. Genesis Family Enterprises won approvals for the subdivision into eight parcels. Located in the triangle-shaped land at the southwest corner of Service and Mitchell roads, the project involves the construction of nine commercial buildings totaling 53,863 square feet, a convenience store with a gas station and carwash and an 85-foot tall freestanding pylon sign.

Expected later will be the second phase consisting of a 64,000-square-foot hotel with 80 rooms as well as buildings for three junior anchors.

The Gateway project is expected to have a grand opening in 2021.