Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to build a new headquarters in Bentonville, CEO Doug McMillon announced to employees on Friday.
The publicly traded company (NYSE: WMT) aims to consolidate operations now spread among 20 buildings in Bentonville, including a main building at 702 SW 8th St. Spokesman Randy Hargrove said 14,000-17,000 employees will work at the new headquarters.
The project, which doesn't have a price tag yet, is expected to take shape in phases over five to seven years. The new complex will include a 1.9 million-SF distribution center.
The headquarters will be located on a 350-acre tract on the east side of J Street, between Central Avenue and Highway 102. Wal-Mart already owns buildings on the site.
The retailer said it is beginning the process of working with city and state officials and other stakeholders to move the project ahead. That includes applying for a grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission through an incentive designed to encourage capital investment. Hargrove said Wal-Mart didn't know the dollar value of the incentive.
In a statement on its website, the retailer said the move is part of its "strategy to win."
"You'll see improved parking, meal services, fitness, and natural light – yes, natural light," McMillon said in his address to employees. "Plus, the campus will be integrated into the community trail system, for easy walking and cycling access. The combined changes will help us get the most out of our existing team, while helping us attract high-quality talent in the future."
Wal-Mart said the facilities "will help accelerate change, accommodate a more digitally native workforce, and encourage more collaboration and speed. The combined changes will help us get the most out of our existing teams, and also help us attract the next generation of talent we need to compete."
Wal-Mart has been in its current headquarters since 1971. It opened as a 72,000-SF building with few frills, not even carpeting, which founder Sam Walton considered a waste of money.
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