After a year and a half of negotiations and planning, Sam’s Club has started construction on its first store in Mansfield at the southeast corner of U.S. 287 and FM 157.Sam’s Club hopes to open the 128,000-square-foot building before the end of the year, according to an e-mail from the company. The wholesale club will include a pharmacy and hearing aid center, and will employ 175 people, the company said. A Sam’s Club gas station will be located nearby on West Debbie Lane and FM 157, said Scott Welmaker, director of economic development for the city.“There were a lot of moving parts to get this thing done,” Welmaker said. “They will be tearing down the strip center (currently located on the property) except for the Dollar General.”Kossman Development Corp. is looking for a new tenant for the former Dollar General store, which moved to a new store on West Debbie Lane, said Steve Weisbrod, vice president of Kossman.“We have 5 1/2 acres remaining behind Sam’s Club on Debbie Lane,” Weisbrod said. “Development will likely be retail of some sort or office type building, all single story. We probably won’t do anything until we have somebody committed (which would not be for the next six months to a year).“Sam’s Club is increasing interest,” he said.Located adjacent to the Sam’s Club, Lowe’s has also “decided to carve off a piece of its parking lot and put in a fast-food restaurant there,” Welmaker said.Also on the southbound side of U.S. 287, In-N-Out Burger has also begun construction on its new restaurant between Panda Express and National Tire & Battery Auto Center, near the intersection with North Walnut Creek Drive.“They have indicated that they would like to be open by summer,” Welmaker said.Mellow Mushroom is still moving ahead with plans to build in historic downtown Mansfield, despite running into some issues with the property. The pizza restaurant, which will be built on the southeast corner of the intersection of Main and Broad streets, is finalizing site plans, Welmaker said. The Station House, former home of City Hall, will be demolished as soon as the property closes and the monuments located on the site will be moved and stored until they have a permanent home, he said.A variety of grocery stores are also looking at the city, but have to remain anonymous for the present, Welmaker said. Even more emergency medical clinics are currently scouting the area. One has already moved into the former Blockbuster video store at Matlock Road and East Debbie Lane, while another is rumored to be interested in the Blockbuster that is closing on North Walnut Creek Drive, he said.
Amanda Rogers, 817-473-4451 Twitter: @AmandaRogersNM