Those looking for more grocery shopping options in Bowie could be in luck, with Walmart eyeing an expansion in the southern part of the city.
Currently Walmart operates a 130,000 square-foot store in Collington Plaza, but they are looking to open a larger store at Mill Branch Crossing some time in the near future. Mill Branch Crossing, also known as the Chelsea Property, was annexed by the city in 2012. The property is located at the intersection of northbound Rt. 301 and Mill Branch Road.
The property was rezoned in 2009 from Residential-Agricultural to Commercial-Shopping-Center. Walmart is looking to build a 186,000 square-foot Supercenter store on the site, according to City Manager David Deutsch.
The city recently reviewed a special exception application for the project, which is required by the county for all “big box” stores, or all stores over 125,000 square-feet. The application, said Deutsch, is strictly procedural and will likely be quickly approved by the Prince George’s County Planning Board.
“It’s not unanticipated,” Deutsch said in an interview. “We’d been hearing rumbles about this for some time.”
The application states that there will be food and beverage in excess of 10 percent of the store’s square-footage, meaning the store will have a sizable grocery component. If Walmart proceeds with building the new, larger store, the current location in Collington Plaza will be closed. It will be up to Walmart as to what to do with that possible vacancy, as they own the property and the building.
This new store in South Bowie is part of Walmart’s plan to expand in Prince George’s County by converting current stores to Supercenters and building two new stores. The new stores and renovated locations will bring jobs and tax revenue to the county, according to a letter sent to some local residents. A new store is also slated for Oxon Hill.
“In fact, nearly $16 million is spent by Prince George’s County residents in Walmart’s Alexandria store every year. That generates sales tax revenue that could benefit Prince George’s County schools and help pay for county needed services,” states the letter, which was signed by Walmart’s director of community affairs, Nina Albert.
According to Deutsch, city staff will be scheduling stakeholder, Bowie Advisory Planning Board and Bowie City Council meetings on the project sometime after Labor Day.