CHARLOTTE – Soon, the boarded up store fronts and run down parking lots that make up the mostly vacant Amity Gardens Shopping Center will be torn down to make room for a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
After years of discussions, the mega-chain finalized plans to build along Independence Boulevard Monday night. City leaders hope it will be an economic shot in the arm to the city's East Side.
"I think we have a real opportunity for transit oriented development next door and further out. This will anchor all of those developments," said Nancy Carter, of the Charlotte City Council.
Meanwhile, employees at Harbor Freight Tools have no hard feelings towards Wal-Mart. As one of the last remaining tenants inside the large complex, manager Michael Pascarella says he's looking forward to doing business in a new location with easier access for customers.
"I'm excited about relocating. Wal-Mart can have it," he said.
Carter says access won’t be an issue. If you're traveling east on Independence, crews will widen the right turn lane into Wal-Mart to make the drive a bit safer.
If you're traveling westbound, the new interchange provides access along Pierson Drive and Wilshire Place.
"It's a very easy in and out. People just need to learn it," Carter said.
The Wal-Mart Supercenter is slated to open during the first quarter of 2011. A spokesperson for the store wasn't able to estimate how many jobs it would bring to the area yet but said that news should come within the next 30 days.