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Tuesday July 28th, 2015 6:23AM

Gainesville officials say Walmart to build neighborhood markets on two city sites

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - The city of Gainesville announced Thursday morning what had been suspected by residents for months - Walmart is building what the company bills as Neighborhood Markets at two city sites.<br /> <br /> The stores are being built on property previously occupied by Lanier Plaza and Lanier Commons shopping centers and are scheduled to open in early 2015, according to a press statement released by the city.<br /> <br /> "On behalf of the City I would like to welcome these stores to our community. At 41,000 square feet, these stores on Thompson Bridge Road and Browns Bridge Road, will provide almost 200 additional jobs for our community, generate additional tax revenue, and stimulate new investment in the surrounding area," Mayor Danny Dunagan said in the statement.<br /> <br /> Neighbors who live near the Thompson Bridge Road site objected throughout the rezoning process to the development. Even though city leaders never revealed publicly that the tenant would be Walmart, residents suspected the store would locate in the former Lanier Plaza. Most opponents objected to the possibility of increased traffic and competition on other stores in the area.<br /> <br /> There was no objection to a similar plan at the former Lanier Commons on Browns Bridge Road.<br /> <br /> In the press statement, Walmart said Walmart Neighborhood Markets were designed in 1998 as a smaller-footprint option for communities in need of a pharmacy, affordable fresh groceries and select household merchandise. Walmart currently operates more than 340 Neighborhood Markets nationwide.
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