By MIKE MORRIS
A Sacramento-based developer has begun talks with Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, about building a Wal-Mart Super Center near the intersection of Highways 4 and 49 in Angels Camp.
Fred Katz, a general partner with FHK, the company that developed Frog Jump Plaza in November 2001, wants to extend the Angels Camp shopping center to include a grocery and department store.
A Wal-Mart Super Center would house both under one roof.
"We are talking to many major retailers, and yes, one of them is Wal-Mart," Katz said.
Jim Oakes, Angels Camp's building official, said that during a staff meeting last week, Angels Camp City Administrator Tim Shearer told the group that FHK and Wal-Mart have been talking, but nothing has been put in writing regarding the vacant 9-acre lot next to the plaza.
Shearer said Frog Jump Plaza, which includes a Longs Drug Store, Starbuck's coffee shop and Blockbuster video store, is the first of three phases.
The second phase is to build a grocery store, and FHK has had discussions with Safeway and Raley's, Shearer said.
"There have been several speculations, but none have matured yet," Oakes said.
The final phase would be to build a "big box" store, along the lines of Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart.
"There are no plans for a Super Wal-Mart," Shearer said. "FHK is looking into someone for phase two. Wal-Mart is a possibility and only that."
Katz said whatever store commits to phase two will determine how the rest of the project turns out. He said he's pushing for Wal-Mart because of how beneficial such a large employer would be to the community.
If it's Wal-Mart, there won't be a grocery store because the Super Center will already have one, and if it's a grocery store, that means no Wal-Mart, Katz said.
A regular grocery store, however, would allow a department store, such as Target, to be built.
The Union Democrat is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Tuesday through Saturday. E-Edition or Print Plus subscribers have full access.
If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access. Circulation: 209-533-3614
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties