BENTONVILLE (KFSM) — Walmart unveiled design plans on Friday (May 17) for its new home office, with renderings that show a sprawling campus that blends trails, restaurants and workspaces.
The new home office will be built on roughly 350 acres of land east of J Street between Central Avenue and 14th Street, where the retailer operates a distribution center and other offices.
"We intend to bring most of our Home Office associates in Northwest Arkansas onto a central campus with accommodations for a more digitally native workforce and space that encourages greater collaboration and speed," said Doug McMillon, CEO and president of Walmart.
"You’ll see improved parking, meal services, fitness, and natural light – yes, natural light. Plus, the campus will be integrated into the community trail system, for easy walking and cycling access."
Preliminary construction is set to begin this summer. Officials plan to recycle some buildings currently at the site of the new home office.
The new campus is aiming for its buildings to operate with 100 percent renewable energy and create zero waste.
Walmart's current home office at Southwest Eighth Street and Walton Boulevard was built in 1971. A Walmart spokesman said the patchwork of buildings -- which house thousands of associates -- have outlived their shelf life.
"Back then, Sam Walton recognized the company had outgrown its space on the Bentonville square. Newer and more spacious offices were needed to support the company’s ambitions," McMillon said.
"As we grew in the years that followed, so did our Home Office footprint, but without a holistic long-term plan. The result was today’s patchwork of more than 20 buildings in Northwest Arkansas."
Plans for a new home office were first announced in September 2017, according to Talk Business & Politics.
“I expect Walmart’s investment to be close to, on a guesstimate, a billion dollars,” said Paul Esterer, a principal and managing director of commercial real estate firm Newmark Grubb Arkansas (NGA) in Bentonville.
“That’s one thing. The second part is it will solidify future development of another $500 million in investments in Bentonville ... based on what is happening in downtown Bentonville, there’s that much on the drawing board. And from a diverse group of investors.”
Talk Business also reported on Thursday (May 16) that Walmart's first quarter revenue was up 1 percent, with same-store sales growth up 3.4 percent.
Walmart's net income was $3.842 billion in the first fiscal quarter, which ended April 30 -- up 80% from the $2.134 billion in the same quarter of 2018. Per share earnings of $1.13 beat the consensus estimate of $1.02.
That growth marked 19 straight quarters of same-store sales gains and was the best sale performance for the fiscal first quarter in nine years, according to the Associated Press.
However, the retailer also cautioned that higher tariffs on imports from China could mean higher prices for shoppers.