by Aaron Burns

HUNTERSVILLE – Residents looking to expand their shopping options will get their chance this summer.

The 150,000-square-foot Walmart designed to anchor the Bryton development along N.C. 115 is right on schedule, said David Jarrett, project manager for Charlotte-based American Asset Corporation, the project developers.

AAC handled development for existing properties including NorthCross Village, NorthCross Shopping Center and The Arboretum Shopping Center in Charlotte.

“The (Bryton) project will be delivered to Walmart in late May,” Jarrett said, with an expected grand opening coming 60-90 days later.

The Walmart building, which takes up 3.5 acres, is expected to anchor the 450-acre development. The store is the first Walmart in town and the second big-box retailer, following Target, located off Sam Furr Road.

The new Walmart will be located at Bryton Town Center Drive, near Eastfield Road.

“We knew from the beginning of Bryton that there would be a major retail store there,” Town Planning Director Jack Simoneau said. “It’s going to have a huge draw from a huge boundary.”

The town approved rezoning to allow a big-box retailer at Bryton in 2006.

“We didn’t know which retailer it would be, but Walmart has turned out to be great and easy to work with,” Jarrett said.

The new store will be the first building to go up in Bryton. The expected traffic to come from the development as it continues to grow has already led to road changes nearby.

The changes include: N.C. 115 near Bryton being widened from two to four lanes, Hambright Road extended from N.C. 115 to Everett Keith Road, Alexanderana Road widened from two to four median-divided lanes and a new traffic signal at Hambright that Jarrett said could be functional within a week.

Jarrett said Bryton’s master plan had called for the road changes, not Walmart’s development.

“We want (the road changes) to relieve traffic, not cause more as development continues,” he said.

But roads aren’t the only things Jarrett said he’s seen change in the past 9-10 months at Bryton.

“Since Walmart started about nine months ago, the changes have been incredible,” he said. “They’ve almost got it under roof now. They’re putting in public infrastructure. It’ll have a big impact on the area. It’s a nice focal point for Huntersville.”

According to a Hoover’s report, Walmart has more than 4,000 stores in the U.S.

They won’t have any major-retail competition aside from Target in Huntersville anytime soon.

“There won’t be any more big-box retailers unless zoning changes,” Jarrett said, adding that the addition to the town’s retail selection shows how far Huntersville has come in the past 15-20 years.

“The whole process has been going very smoothly,” Jarrett said. “Hopefully, Walmart will give us a catalyst to kick Bryton off.”

Facts about Walmart

• There were 4,253 stores in the U.S. as of July 31, 2012

• An estimated 90 percent of Americans live within 15 minutes of a Walmart

• Walmart’s annual sales exceed $400 billion

• The company employs 2 million people worldwide