Walmart representatives informed Atascadero Feb. 10 that it has canceled plans to build a brick-and-mortar store on Del Rio Road and El Camino Real, suddenly ending a decade-long saga that divided the community.
"After much deliberation and consideration of various business factors, we have made a business decision not to pursue a new store in Atascadero at this time," said Delia Garcia, senior director of communications for Walmart.
In August 2016, Walmart filed for a one-year extension on its final parcel map with the city. Even so, there was no word about the retail giant pulling out of the project. Garcia said in a phone interview that Walmart has shifted its business model toward the online market.
"We announced we were moving forward with [the Atascadero store] because we got through those hurdles, but the reality is over the last year or so while this project has been in development we've continued to innovate our business and take a hard look at all our projects," Garcia said.
The decision is a blow to Atascadero, which has invested a great deal into making Walmart the centerpiece of a retail shopping center at the Del Rio Road exit off Highway 101.
"Walmart is wanting to work with the City to make this a viable project for other potential retailers," said Terrie Banish, deputy city manager. "We will provide more information as it comes available."