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Walmart on Friday announced that it plans to build a new headquarters on a 350 acre tract of land in Bentonville, Arkansas, not far from its longtime home.

“We’ve been here in Northwest Arkansas for over 50 years and we’re preparing now to cement the roots for the next 50-plus years,” Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said.

No cost has yet been estimated for the project, which is said to be in the early stages of planning and design. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette writes that it is expected to take five-to-seven years to complete the project.

According to the story, “Wal-Mart’s current home office operations include about 20 different buildings spread throughout Bentonville. The company said one purpose for building a new headquarters is to consolidate more of those operations on one campus to improve collaboration and efficiency. The company also said a new home will be an attractive tool to recruit future workers in a retail environment that is rapidly changing because of technology.”

The quotes an internal email from CEO Doug McMillon as saying that the current “corporate campus - a hodgepodge of more than 20 buildings spanning several communities - are ‘significantly beyond their shelf life.’

The new facility, McMillon wrote, will be better suited to a more “digitally native work force” with “improved parking, meal services, fitness, and natural light — yes, natural light.”
KC's View:
Betcha there won’t be any lawn chairs in the lobby that will emphasize with an exclamation point how frugal the company is. (Though how great would it be if there were…?) I’ll also betcha this means that Arkansas will be one of the few place sin the country not getting into the Hunger Games-style sweepstakes to try and get Amazon’s planned second headquarters.

I also wonder if it kind of irritated the folks at Walmart that Amazon made its HQ announcement first. Not that it matters, and they’ve reportedly been contemplating this move for some time. But it had to annoy them a little bit that Amazon got the PR jump on them.

This is smart, though. Walmart is a global force that needs a 21st century headquarters that will attract the best and the brightest to move to Arkansas and pursue their career ambitions there.