COLUMBIA — Demolition groups began tearing down the former Wal-Mart store in the Rock Bridge Shopping Center at Nifong Boulevard and Providence Road on Monday.
The former Wal-Mart space has been vacant since the store moved to a new location in the Grindstone Plaza development on Grindstone Parkway in early 2006. Leaving the space vacant was a major concern when the Columbia City Council unanimously approved the store at Grindstone Plaza.
“I get a great deal of community response about large, empty retail buildings and the lack of maintenance that takes place,” Mayor Darwin Hindman told the Missourian in January 2006. “The idea that the space was going to be occupied was a serious factor in my decision to approve the rezoning of the property.”
The store remained vacant until razing began Monday. Hy-Vee finalized plans in September to lease the space, which is owned by the Kroenke Group. Construction on the new HyVee will begin next month, and the store is scheduled to open next fall.
The new grocery store may include a right-turn exit onto Providence Road from the HyVee parking lot to ease traffic, said Jill Stedem, public information specialist for public works. The Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard intersection should not be affected, she said.