CHEYENNE – Wal-Mart Corporation and Cheyenne LEADS announced this evening that Wal-Mart will invest over $60 million and create over 600 jobs in Laramie County over the next several years as the nation’s leading retailer moves forward with plans to build a 850,000 square foot mechanized distribution warehouse on the edge of Cheyenne.
“This is the culmination of a process that started just over three years ago and has involved some courageous decisions by the LEADS Board of Directors and superb cooperation among State, County and City governments and their staffs. They have been wonderful to work with,” said Randy Bruns, Cheyenne LEADS CEO. Bruns also specifically cited Gov. Dave Freudenthal and his office; the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Wyoming Department of Employment as particularly important in the process of recruiting the company to Cheyenne.
The company will begin construction in LEADS’ North Range Business Park within a few months, concurrently with LEADS construction of required water, sewer and roadways in the yet-undeveloped business park. Phase I of the business park will be completed in late 2006. The distribution center is expected to become operational in spring of 2007.
“Much of our time-line for Phase I of the new business park will now be driven by the needs of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center,” Bruns said. “However, the infrastructure we will be putting in place will serve 19 other properties in that park. When Phase I is completed over 80 percent of the park will be ready for other businesses.”
The Cheyenne City Council, the Laramie County Commission and the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities have signed agreements within the past month to allow LEADS to develop the business park. Funding for the required improvements will come from the Wyoming Business Council’s Business Ready Community Grant Program and from LEADS itself. Funds to purchase the park were pledged by Progress and Prosperity. LEADS is expected to seek city and county assistance in completing the infrastructure in the park.
“The bulk of these jobs will be full-time employment. These jobs will pay competitive wages. The best way to raise wages is to bring more jobs to the community. That is LEADS’ mission,” said Tim Thorson, LEADS Vice President. “Construction activity and related local purchases will have an immediate impact to the local economy. Once the center is fully staffed and operational, an additional $12 million to $13 million in annual payroll will flow through the economy. Typically the economic impact of this type of project results in about as many secondary jobs as the company itself hires,” Thorson said.
Bruns said the months ahead will be busy for LEADS as it secures funding and moves ahead with the improvements in the new business park. Other current projects include adding two additional businesses and over 100 new jobs to LEADS’ existing business park and several projects in Eastern Laramie County. LEADS will also continue working its list of prospective businesses.
“This announcement is further proof that the Cheyenne community is on the right track,” Bruns said. “These jobs mean opportunity for families, customers for local businesses, increased tax revenues and further opportunities to choose the future of our community.”
Cheyenne LEADS is a member-supported private non-profit corporation devoted to bringing jobs and economic opportunity to Laramie County. LEADS serves as the Economic Development entity for the City of Cheyenne and for Laramie County, Wyoming.