Big Stone Gap Walmart on Neeley Road Closure

This past weekend saw the official closure of the Walmart in Big Stone Gap at the Powell Valley Square. This Walmart was the first to open in Virginia and has been the main anchor tenant since opening in 1984. This closure follows the differing accounts of the matter from the owners of Powell Valley Square, One Center Corp. and the property landlords Landmark Properties Group, who are based in Philadelphia.
Claiming to be both “surprised and disappointed” at the ultimate decision by Walmart to close down the store. The owners went on to add that Walmart had indeed requested “a substantial reductions in the base rent figure.” They also noted that after some research into the matter, Landmark Properties Group discovered that Walmart was already paying low rent for retail space in the area.
LPG also related that they had waited for Walmart to present a proposed rent reduction request for their possible consideration and approval, but the closure went ahead as planned and they never received any potential rent figures by Walmart.
Walmart has since related that after closing the Big Stone Gap branch, they had plans to transfer most of the eighty Big Stone Gap employees to their locations in Jonesville and Norton. It seems the matter is final with no further negotiations due to an inability to reach an agreed upon amount that would allow Walmart to extend the lease and keep the store profitable.
Walmart spokesperson, Phillip Keene, stated that the decision came “after a careful and thoughtful review process”, that they would not be renewing the lease for the location on Neeley Road. Keene went on to stress that, “Our associates are the heartbeat of the company and our top priority is to take care of them during this transition.”
Lastly all parties regret inconveniences to those affected by the closure, adding that the community had relied on this Walmart since 1984. Walmart customers will now have to travel an additional twenty minutes to either the Jonesville or Norton City location. Landmark Properties Group are hoping to find a new business to serve the community of Big Stone Gap.
Town Manager, Steve Lawson stated, “We were caught by surprise.”  Going further to say, “Four new businesses located up there in the past two years because Walmart was an anchor.”

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