Home Depot scraps Waynesville plans

Home Depot has officially yanked plans to build a store in Waynesville next to the town’s new Super Wal-Mart.

The decision comes after months of continual delays on the project. The home improvement chain had pushed the opening date back to late 2009 or early 2010 before informing local officials several weeks ago of its intention to scrap plans entirely.

“The reason they delayed in the beginning was because of the national economic softness of the market, and then it just got worse,” said Haywood County Economic Development Director Mark Clasby.

Clasby said Home Depot had still planned to open the Waynesville store even after closing its first round of stores. Still, the chain’s decision didn’t come as a total shock.

“I wasn’t totally surprised, because I’ve been following their situation and on a national level, they’ve been struggling,” he said.

Alan Best, president of the Haywood Home Builders Association, would have welcomed a Home Depot, but said current local suppliers like Haywood Builders are sufficiently meeting the needs of the construction industry.

“Home Depot would have been a great asset, but the suppliers that are here now are adequately meeting our needs,” he said.

While Home Depot currently owns the site — large enough for a 100,000-square-foot building — the master developer of Waynesville Commons, Cedarwood Development, wants it back, Clasby said.

Cedarwood has some smaller outparcels at the Waynesville Commons complex it still hopes to unload. Without an anchor store to go in the gaping Home Depot spot, those outparcels will be more difficult to market.

Just what will fill Home Depot’s space is yet to be determined. It could be subdivided between several businesses.

“They’ve had some interest from other retailers on that property, and they’re trying to work through that,” said Clasby. “I’m pretty confident something will come in there.”

Waynesville Mayor Gavin Brown said he hopes to see a restaurant as a tenant at the former Home Depot site.

“There are basic characteristics of businesses that would go into that location, and the next one obviously would be a restaurant,” Brown said.

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