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Plans call for new Belk, a Michaels and PetSmart in Waynesville

Belk department store in Waynesville might be moving from its anchor spot beside Ingle's grocery store to a much larger and brand-new building beside Super Wal-Mart.A Michaels craft store and Pet Smart might also join the ranks of big-box chain stores at the Waynesville Commons development on South Main Street, according to building plans submitted to the town's planning office.

The new stores have been proposed for a 12-acre commercial site next to Super Wal-Mart that originally was slated for a Home Depot. When the economy tanked, Home Depot pulled out, and has been trying to off-load the tract.

While construction plans under review by the town call for an 85,000-square-foot Belk, the Waynesville store manager said it is still too new to talk about.

"The details haven't quite been published. It is still in the works," said Reasey Johnson, the general manager of Belk in Waynesville.

Plans were filed with the town by CBL & Associates, a commercial property development firm that has been marketing the site for Home Depot. There has not been a sale of the site recorded yet, and the tenants are not yet cast in stone.

"We have nothing official to announce regarding a prospective development in Waynesville," Matt Phillips with CBL & Associates. "We explore a number of opportunities; some that are realized and some that are not. We will be pleased to make an official announcement when we have actual information to share."

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County economic development leaders have been working for years to bring development to the former industrial site. A sprawling, rusting, old factory was bulldozed to make way for the retail strip complex five years ago. But new stores have been slow to locate there because of the economy.

"This is what we expected to happened, but the unfortunate three year economic hiatus held us up," said Waynesville Mayor Gavin Brown, also a member of the county's economic development commission. "It is nice to see we are having nationally known businesses locate in the community. I'm not saying there aren't local suppliers of those same products, but it is nice to know Waynesville is recognized as a place to be."


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